Sunderland and Villa battle it out for N’Zogbia

Wigan midfielder Charles N’Zogbia looks likely to exit the Lancashire club, but will it be Aston Villa or Sunderland who wins the race for the sought-after forward?

Aston Villa are on the search for a new winger after the departure of Stewart Downing, and Charles N’Zogbia is reportedly high up on their wish list. According to BBC Sport, the midlands club made a bid of around £9m for N’Zogbia, which was immediately rejected by Dave Whelan, who will settle for nothing below £10m. Villa are not the only team to be in for the Frenchman though, with Sunderland also desperate to add more flair to their squad for the coming season.

Steve Bruce is a long-term admirer of N’Zogbia, having built up a strong relationship with him during their time together at Wigan, and may be encouraged by the news that Villa boss McLeish is losing confidence in a deal being agreed between the two clubs. They will also be boosted by McLeish‘s comments earlier today to Sky Sports, when he said how “We do have others in mind that if the particular deal we are looking at falls through,” suggesting Villa will not go down to the wire to sign him.

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Sunderland’s Titus Bramble, a close friend of N’Zogbia’s following their time together at Wigan and Newcastle United, has confirmed that the midfield ace is keen on joining the Black Cats: “When I spoke to him last year, he said it would be a fantastic move for him,” Brambel claimed, also to Sky. “Whether it materialises for him or not, I don’t know – but you never know in football.”

However, the ball remains firmly in Wigan’s court, with owner Dave Whelan insisting that no deal is possible unless the club receives an acceptable fee, something that is yet to be done. Wages are also expected to be a stumbling block, as many teams seem reluctant to meet the £65,000 per week contract that the midfielder reportedly desires.

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