O'Leary plays down Saviola link
By James Pearson. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
David O'Leary has poured cold water on reports suggesting Aston Villa are keen to sign striker Javier Saviola from Barcelona.
Saviola is currently on the transfer list after being informed his future lies away from Camp Nou after spending last season on loan with Monaco.
O'Leary is keen to bolster his squad ahead of the new season, but has laughed off suggestions he was in Spain last week negotiating for the Argentina international.
"Saviola? That's why I don't read the papers," said O'Leary to the club's official website.
"That's why I was supposed to have been in Barcelona last week was it? I haven't been to Spain in the last week."
Barca have reaffirmed Villa's stance by stating the club have not heard anything from the Premiership club over Saviola's availability.
"Our football director Txiki Beguiristain has no confirmation yet that Aston Villa are interested in signing the player," said spokesman Toni Ruiz.
"In fact the club are currently having conversations with other teams who have really expressed their interest in signing Javier Saviola."
Meanwhile, O'Leary has also rubbished reports the club may use striker Darius Vassell as bait to tempt Manchester City to part with defender Sylvain Distin.
"I've not heard anything about that and I don't know where it's come from," added O'Leary.
"I don't want to be rude but I don't want to comment on them because if I did, I'd be speaking about things that are totally news to me."