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Villa in Link with Yet Another Keeper

A goalkeeper to replace the ageing Brad Friedel appears to be high up on Houllier’s wish list this Christmas with the American yet to receive a new contract offer from the club. Allan McGregor, Jason Steele, Scott Loach and Roman Weidenfeller have all been linked in recent times and you can now add Bolton’s reserve keeper Ali Al-Habsi to that list. Villa will come up against the Oman international, currently on loan at Wigan, on Saturday and Houllier may use the opportunity to get a closer look at Al-Habsi with Bolton willing to listen to any offers. Villa are joined by rivals West Brom and Newcastle in their apparent interest and it appears that a move may well be on the cards for the keeper in the January transfer window. A supposed price tag of £5m for the 28-year-old doesn’t appeal in the slightest despite good performances for the Latics. When quizzed on the matter, Bolton manager Owen Coyle stated:

‘It’s all hearsay at the moment, but if a bid comes in we’ll sit down with Ali and his advisors and look at it.

‘We can’t really talk about it until it happens. We know he’s been playing well, but we knew he was a top goalkeeper when we loaned him out. He needed to play and it was a great deal business-wise for the club,

‘It allowed Ali to play Premier League matches as well as enabling us to promote Adam Bogdan, who is also an excellent keeper. It was a win-win situation for us. If a bid comes in January, we’ll look at it, and do the right thing for the football club.’

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