O’Neill to raid Aston Villa for Collins

Martin O’Neill is looking to take James Collins from his former club Aston Villa as he attempts to sure up the defence at Sunderland.

According to the Daily Star, Collins could become available in the coming weeks with Villa poised to sign Feyenoord centre-back Ron Vlaar.

Collins arrived at Villa Park under the tenure of O’Neill in 2009 and has since gone on to feature 91 times for the club, helping himself to five goals. But it is thought that Paul Lambert is willing to let the Welshman leave, so long as he has a ready-to-go replacement already at the club.

If the 28-year-old defender is subject of a bid by Sunderland, that is sure to provoke the already keen interest from rivals Newcastle and newly-promoted West Ham, who are both looking to strengthen their back four as well.

The speculated fee for the Welsh international is in the region of £5m, but should clubs other than the Black Cats make an offer, then a bidding war could ensue for the highly rated defender.

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