Villa play down Steed link

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Aston Villa have moved to play down speculation that has suggested they are pursuing Steed Malbranque.

The French playmaker was thought to have been top of David O'Leary's summer wish-list but apparently, this is no longer the case.

Malbranque had a couple of spats with Fulham chief Chris Coleman last season, which had hastened reports that he could be on his way out of Craven Cottage.

O'Leary is known to be in the market for fresh faces this pre-season but it would appear he will not be casting his net to West London to land Malbranque.

Villa's operations manager Steve Stride has issued a statement on the club's official website to confirm Villa's position on the speculation.

''During one of my many conversations with David, Malbranque's name came up and David insisted most definitely that he was not one of the names on the list.''