Aston Villa continue Sisyphean task of offloading Stephen Ireland

Drew Hallowell

Middlesbrough are interested in Stephen Ireland, but if history tells us anything we know how this will end.

Stephen Ireland came to Aston Villa in 2010 as the makeweight in the James Milner to Manchester City move. Since then, he's largely been a disappointment. Since he came to Villa, it seems as if the club and fans perform the same futile task every time the transfer window opens: a rumour appears saying that Ireland is leaving, serious interest seems to form, the window closes and we all look around to find Ireland still here. "Well, I guess we'll just push him up the hill again next time," we collectively say.

Keep tabs on AVFC transfer news: Transfer rumour hub All the latest rumours in one list

This time it's Middlesbrough who are seriously eyeing Ireland. Middlesbrough manger Tony Mowbray has asked for first refusal if Villa plan on making a move for Ireland. It's hard to really tell what this means though. It could be a matter of Mowbray looking at other targets, but wanting to keep tabs on Ireland. A sort of, "Well, if I don't find anything better, I guess I'll take this." Or it could be Mowbray's way of holding out as long as is possible, possibly to avoid paying wages for Ireland when I doesn't have to.

And speaking of those wages, the £65,000 per week that Ireland is getting seems to be a major sticking point in any discussions over the former Ireland international. At this point, it's likely that Villa will end up paying some of them even if he does leave. Like the Darren Bent situation, though, anything at this point is free money and Villa should take whatever they can get. They've got little to no leverage in the negotiations, as Paul Lambert has made it clear that Ireland has no place on the squad.

So let's all hope that Middlebrough really do want Stephen Ireland, because I'm not looking forward to pushing that rock up the hill again.

More from 7500 To Holte:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join 7500 To Holte

You must be a member of 7500 To Holte to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at 7500 To Holte. You should read them.

Join 7500 To Holte

You must be a member of 7500 To Holte to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at 7500 To Holte. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker