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Villa linked with Norwich midfielder

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Aston Villa are linked with a Norwich midfielder, and it's not Wes Hoolahan

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If the rumours are to be believed, Aston Villa are preparing for life in the Championship with the signing of a veteran midfielder.

The Birmingham Mail have reported that Villa are interested in signing Norwich City's Gary O'Neil, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

O'Neil, 32, has plenty of experience in both the Premier League and --perhaps more importantly-- the Championship in his 16 years as a professional. Originally at Portsmouth, O'Neil played in both divisions before moves to Middlesbrough, West Ham and Norwich.

Originally a right midfielder, Gary O'Neil has lost a yard of pace and now operates more centrally. Think of him as a more attack-minded version of Ashley Westwood, though not as competent defensively. His Norwich contract expires at the end of the season, thus O'Neil wouldn't cost the club any money, and I can't imagine he would be on high wages. For some divisional experience, O'Neil would be a fairly good signing.

I have just two concerns though. First, the club still doesn't have a permanent manager. It's all well and good that the transfer committee and highlighting potential signings, but it would be far more sensible to wait and see if the new manager wants this signing, otherwise O'Neil would just take up wage space.

Secondly, what would this singing mean for Villa's current midfielders? At least one of Idrissa Gana, Jordan Veretout and Carlos Sanchez will surely move back to the continent, so there will undeniably be space in the Aston Villa midfield. I just wonder what Gary O'Neil brings that Gary Gardner does not. O'Neil hasn't consistently scored a tremendous amount of goals, so I don't see any reason why the club should play him over one of our own in Gardner.

Would you take Gary O'Neil at Aston Villa? Let us know in the comments below!