Ireland told he can leave Aston Villa

Stephen Ireland has been told he can leave Aston Villa this summer, the Daily Telegraph has reported, as manager Paul Lambert continues to offload the highest earners at the Midlands club.

Ireland has a year remaining on a contract that calls for the former Manchester City midfielder to earn £65,000 per week, but Lambert wants to move on Ireland and his fellow well-paid fringe players in order to continue the rebuilding process at Villa Park.

Lambert this week made two new signings, FC Nordsjaelland defender Jores Okore and Groningen midfielder Leandro Bacuna, with Lech Poznan winger Aleksandar Tonev already captured by the Villans and Aalborg striker Nicklas Helenius expected to join next week. Two more arrivals are also expected before the end of the transfer window in August.

Ireland is one of four established Villa names to be told they can leave the club, joining Darren Bent, Shay Given and Alan Hutton, while Richard Dunne has already departed after his contract expired. Ireland has not made a Villa appearance since December and the club are willing to let him go for far less than the £8m paid to City in 2010 as part of the deal that took James Milner in the other direction.

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