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Star Villa wingers not for sale, says Gerard Houllier

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Dunne and Ireland have Villa future - Houllier

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has insisted star wingers Ashley Young and Stewart Downing will not be sold during the January transfer window.

Asked if the club were open to offers for the England duo, Houllier said: "No, no way. Categorically no."

The Frenchman also admitted Villa's poor run was getting to his players.

"I think some of them are affected mentally by what is happening. But in life when you face adversity, you fight. This is what you have to do."

Villa, currently only a point above the Premier League relegation zone, begin the new year with a daunting trip to face champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

They will be looking to bounce back after their 2-1 home loss to Tottenham on Boxing Day was followed by a 4-0 hammering at Manchester City.

With the transfer window about to open, Houllier said he will only offload players who are not part of his plans and said he has been given the go-ahead by owner Randy Lerner to make signings.

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"The chairman has reassured me [there will be money to spend], and if we need some players in, we will take them," he said.

However, Houllier admitted a deal to sign France Under-19 captain Gueida Fofana was unlikely to be completed after talks stalled.

Midfielder Fofana, 19, was in Birmingham hoping to seal a move from Le Havre worth about £800,000.

But Houllier said: "The Fofana deal is not done and I doubt it will be done. For the moment, an agreement has not been reached.

He is more optimistic about signing Colorado Rapids striker Omar Cummings - currently on trial at Villa - on loan until March.

Houllier said: "The MLS season is finished and Omar will probably be here until March. He is quick and can also play on the wing and, don't forget, we have not many options up front at this time."

The Frenchman also intimated that out-of-favour duo Richard Dunne and Stephen Ireland still have roles to play as he plots to revive Villa's fortunes.

Dunne was reportedly involved in a training-ground row earlier this month after being dropped, while Houllier has expressed his disappointment with Ireland's form.

"At some stage there will be [a way back for them] sooner rather than later," he said.

"They are out of the team only on footballing reasons. They weren't performing at times."



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see also
Manchester City 4-0 Aston Villa
28 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Houllier tight-lipped on transfers
23 Dec 10 |  Aston Villa
Houllier denies player rebellion
17 Dec 10 |  Aston Villa


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