Gerard Houllier has quashed reports that the club may look to cash in on star player Ashley Young in January with his contract expiring in the summer of 2012. The manager has reiterated reports earlier in the week that Villa would be loathed, but willing, to risk letting Young leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract as they feel his worth in a playing capacity over the next two seasons would outweigh a cut price valuation due to the contract scenario. Young had looked set to pen a new long-term deal but after stating that he was happy at the club, revealed that he wanted to wait until the end of the season in order to ‘focus on playing’ before discussing terms in the summer. Houllier has confirmed that this will be the case despite interest from Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham stating that both he and the chairman were ‘brave’ enough to let the contract run as opposed to selling the club’s highest earner.
“Ashley knows that the club’s will is to keep him. I’ll keep him until the end of his contract and I’ll keep the club developing,” said Houllier.
“You have to be brave to do that. Mr Lerner is brave and I am brave.
“Ashley told us very clearly that he would like to end this season and see what he’ll do and we respect that.
“Let’s wait and see. At the moment I can tell you that we’ll assess things a bit later on. If someone comes with crazy money, yes. But in the meantime I don’t think he’ll leave in January. ”
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