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Ugo Ehiogu last night sparked a Premier League transfer scramble when he told Aston Villa: "I'm off - for the sake of my career."


The big defender is desperate to quit the Midlands giants this summer because he claims he has become stale after nine years at Villa Park.


The former England centre- back (pictured right) was devastated by their 1-0 FA Cup Final defeat against Chelsea and is demanding an urgent showdown with boss John Gregory and chairman Doug Ellis.

Ehiogu feels his career is in danger of going into sharp decline - especially as Villa have no guaranteed place in Europe next season.

He believes that will wreck his chances of forcing his way back into the England squad.

And he argues that a personality clash with manager Gregory makes it impossible for him to see out the remaining two years of his contract.

Ehiogu said: "I have had one brief chat with the manager but with the FA Cup Final in our thoughts I didn't want anything to stand in the way of that.

"I believed we could win at Wembley and the club would go on to better things. Now I feel devastated that we lost and the defeat brought a few things home to me.

"It means we are not in Europe again and that's not ideal for a player like me who is still hungry to play for England.

"If we are not in European competition it does not help my cause. I know we are in the InterToto Cup but that is very hit and miss.

"I need a new challenge to spark my career. I have been at Villa for nine years and I'm starting to feel stale.

"It's time for a change. I need to freshen up and find a new direction. The thought of going back to the same surroundings and seeing the same faces next season doesn't excite me.

"I feel I am part of the fixtures and fittings. When you get to this stage you take things for granted - and people begin to take you for granted."

Ehiogu's clash with Gregory - after the Villa manager accused him of feigning an injury last season - has left them with an uneasy working relationship.

And the player reckons that has also prevented him from furthering his international ambitions.

Ehiogu explained: "I feel whatever I do goes unnoticed. It's something I have detected for quite a while. The manager doesn't talk to me too much and show his appreciation for me in the way he does for others.

"He can bear grudges. Maybe it is because I speak my mind and try to tell the truth. But whatever I've said in public I've always told him to his face first.

"I feel I can no longer talk this matter through with him because he doesn't take it seriously enough."

When he returns from holiday in Cyprus this week, Ehiogu plans to make an urgent appointment with Gregory and Ellis.

He said: "I hope we can do it amicably but if I don't get the right feedback I'll do whatever it takes to get away from here."

Ehiogu has a clause in his contract which guarantees former club West Bromwich Albion 50 per cent of any transfer fee Villa receive over £200,000. It has become a millstone around his neck and will probably force his valuation up over the £6million mark.

Tottenham, Leeds and Arsenal are waiting in the wings for developments and could make a move if Villa give them the green light. Ehiogu said: "The West Brom situation doesn't help me. That's something else that needs sorting out between the two clubs.

"West Brom should realise the longer I stay at Villa the less money I am worth to them. In two years I'll be available on a free transfer so they'll get nothing.

"I hope the two clubs will get their heads together and work out some kind of compromise.

"If it comes to it, I am prepared to wait for two years - but I cannot see myself staying beyond that."

Meanwhile Villa's forgotten man Mark Draper is back from a 'pain in Spain' determined to quit the club this summer.

The £1.5m-rated midfielder also wants talks with Gregory and declared: "There's not a hope in hell of me staying.

"There's interest from two Premiership clubs and I want out as quickly as possible. Ideally I want to be out by the end of June.

"It's been made crystal clear to me that I'm not wanted here and I'm not going to be messed around any longer."

Draper spent half a season on loan at Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano but after a bright start found himself out of the first team squad.

He said: "There were problems because I was taken there by the president and the manager wanted a striker.

"In the end it all turned into a pain."
 

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I hate Ugo to go...but to be honest his criticism of the club is becoming annoying to me! If he wants to go - GO! But no need to slag the club off!
C'mon Ugo, your dedicated Villa fans deserve better!
 

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Ugo you did the right thing. We are waiting for you, hehehe. :)

C'MON YOU SPURS!!!
 

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Hate to disappoint you too much Mikael but it now appears that he is off to Leeds! I'd much rather this, as I detest Spurs!
 
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