Sir Alex Ferguson said Manchester United had been looking at a player during the January transfer window, but it wasn't possible to get said player. Somehow, this has morphed into United having designs on Ashley Young. It seems that this is simply a case of putting two and two together (United wants someone, Villa said Young won't leave) and coming up with a neat solution. Or will Ash follow in James Milner's footsteps and spend most of his weekends on the bench?
After the Blackpool match, Gerard Houllier almost seemed to go out of his way to praise Young. He wanted Villa's star to wear the armband, to accept some of the responsibility that goes along with it, and the manager liked the results. Ash, for his part, spoke highly not just of Aston Villa's performance but of the Villans involved in international duty. It's clear he wants to continue to represent England, and it seems he'll make whatever move allows him to get more time in a 3 Lions shirt. I'd say that wouldn't be moving to a bench somewhere, but Fabio Capello doesn't seem to care that Milner sits around more than he plays, so Young heading off to United might not hurt his England chances.
Villa are still determined to hang on to Young, even as the fans start to grow more and more jaded. After Manchester City filled Randy Lerner's pockets with cash-for-Milner, it's almost as though we'd rather have the cash than the player. The club has said they'll keep Young around as long as possible, even if he runs out his contract and gets to leave for free.
Which is the stupidest thing they could do, really. Play out the season and let Ash leave, if that's what he desires. If this January proved anything, it's that with some cash, the Villa are fine in the transfer window. Young is a fantastic player, but he's likely over-valued, and if he continues to play for England his stock will continue to rise. If a club wants to pay a ridiculous price for him, so be it. I still think he can play well as a second striker, and that once that formation really comes together it will be lethal, but at some point, it's best to just let go.