Belfast Telegraph

Steven Davis lined up for Aston Villa return

Mcleish planning new offer to tempt ulsterman to quit ibrox

By Stuart McKinley

Aston Villa are planning a bold New Year bid to take their former midfielder Steven Davis back to the Premier League.

Having failed with an attempt to lure the Northern Ireland star away from Rangers in the final hours of the summer transfer window, Villa are believed to be preparing early for the Europe-wide signing embargo being lifted at the start of 2012.

And former Ibrox boss Alex McLeish is hoping that a £2m offer for the 26-year-old will tempt his old club into doing a deal for their vice captain.

Davis still has a house in the Birmingham area and he has made no secret of his desire to return to the Premier League at some stage of his career - and Villa hope it will be next month.

McLeish, however, was coy about his transfer targets yesterday.

"I'm not at liberty to talk about other players at other teams," said McLeish.

"We have a lot of players I admire in mind but it remains to be seen if we can do business.

"Just as in the summer, we have to trade carefully. I'm using those words again, box clever, and I don't see us plunging into the market.

"You never know. If there is anything to be done trading wise, then we have to consider things."

Davis left Villa in the summer of 2007 after falling out of favour with then manager Martin O'Neill, but he lasted just six months at Fulham before joining Rangers on loan in January 2008.

That loan deal became permanent the following summer and since then he has been a star in the Scottish Premier League, winning a Player of the Year double in 2010.

Meanwhile Rangers captain David Weir - whom Davis has been standing in for this season - has still not given up hope of continuing his playing career at Ibrox despite going almost five months without a competitive game.

The 41-year-old has been unable to break into the first team since recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered during a Champions League qualifying defeat by Malmo at Ibrox in July.

Weir has admitted he might have to look elsewhere for games should his exile continue, but he has not resigned himself to leaving despite being two weeks away from the opening of the transfer window.

"It's not time now because you can't go anywhere," he said.

"When the time comes in January, if that is the case, and there is an option to go somewhere else then it's something I'll have to think about. But, as it stands, that's not the case."

The Rangers club captain has been involved in reserve matches and played in a friendly against Liverpool two months ago and has not lost his desire to play.

"You're always itching to play, you want to play and I've never lost that," said Weir, whose team host Inverness in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League today.

"I've had a few injuries this season which have curtailed that but I'm back fit again trying to get back in the team.

"Everybody needs to play, I'm no different to anyone else.

"There will be 11 players who start the game tomorrow and everyone else will be disappointed. That will never change, that's football.

"It's how you respond to the disappointment, do you go in the huff or do you try and get yourself back in the team?

"I've had more than my fair share of playing so you have got to take a bit of the other side as well and handle it in the right manner."

Weir has been getting some coaching experience at Murray Park but he is still focused on playing.

"I've got the rest of my life to do coaching," he said.

"I still enjoy playing, I enjoy playing with the young lads. I want to play and I want to win.

"Everyone I speak to says, while you have still got that, keep doing it.

"I don't see any reason to stop, I don't want to stop and my body is not telling me to stop. Time will tell, maybe I'm deluding myself."

Weir's route to the first team has been largely blocked by Dorin Goian and Carlos Bocanegra, who have formed an impressive central defensive partnership since their summer arrival.

"They have done great so that makes the decision easier for the manager," Weir said.

"I can't complain because they have not put a foot wrong, so that's great for Rangers and that's why we're all here."

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