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ELLIS VOWS TO BACK GREGORY - YOUR VIEW

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Exclusive - Dean Gripton reports

Aston Villa Chairman Doug Ellis has responded to criticism of his club's transfer policy by assuring fans that there will be three major signings at Villa Park before the August 19 start to the season.

Talking exclusively to Sky Sports.comTV, Ellis has also revealed his thoughts about wantaway captain Gareth Southgate, and refuses to follow the example of Manchester United Chief Executive Martin Edwards in leaving the Midland giants.

Ellis has received criticism from supporters after Villa have failed to add to the April signing of Belgian striker Luc Nilis during the summer, despite being strongly linked with moves for Tottenham midfielder David Ginola, former defender Steve Staunton from Liverpool, Leicester midfielder Neil Lennon, and also being whispered about aiming to capture Newcastle centre-back Steve Howey and Valencia's Swedish stopper Joachim Bjorklund.

Now he has revealed that Gregory has asked for the funds to buy the three un-named targets, and that the manager's query has been granted.

"He has earmarked three players that he wants now and at this moment in time we are negotiating to bring the first of the three in and hopefully the other two will come in subsequently. We are reasonably confident that the others will follow," said the man christened 'Deadly Doug' for his knack of firing managers.

But Gregory survived a sticky patch last November and December, but now faces problems from the playing staff. Southgate and fellow defender Ugo Ehiogu have requested transfers, but Ellis isn't worried, even though he wants to keep the big names at Villa Park.

. "In Gareth Southgate we have a very high-IQ captain and I was very surprised when he decided to leave us but the fact remains that not a single club has come in and offered to purchase his contract.

"As far as I'm concerned I would like to see him finish the next three years because he is a good player and why should we sell good players. The same with Ugo, who has two years on his contract."

That was in defiance of the words coming from Ehiogu's agent Steve Kutner, who said this week: "It's no secret Ugo wants to play in European competition, but if Peter Reid could convince him of Sunderland's ambitions, it could be a good move."

Proving not miserly with his millions, Ellis insists that he will keep on in the Villa hotseat for the foreseeable future - unlike the outgoing Edwards. "If you're suggesting that I should retire I shall tell you to get lost. I will know if it is time for me to rest or retire. I will know.

"At the moment I am really anxious for the season to start. The work that is going on is for the good of this club."

That is reference to the added capacity that work to the Trinity Road Stand will add, despite the concern from Villa fans that it is unnecessary before the team is strong enough to challenge for the big prizes.

However, with Dwight Yorke and Mark Bosnich both leaving Villa Park in the last two summers, and with his two defensive rocks threatening to move out this time - and then there are Julian Joachim and Beni Carbone's uncertain situations - is the Villa team strong enough for a top six challenge just weeks after an FA Cup Final appearance?

Ellis is confident. "Villa's my life - ask my wife!" quips Mr Aston Villa, and it would take a good lawyer to divorce Ellis from Villa Park.

Does John Gregory have the right targets in mind? Is Ellis right to continue at Villa Park? What do you think of Southgate and Ehiogu's unrest?

Email us now in no more than 80 words and tell us who you are and where you're from. We’ll publish the best ones.

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My opinion is, and always has been, that if a player does not want to play for Aston Villa then let him go. As much as I like Southgate and Ehiogu as players, let them go for what they are worth on the transfer market then Gregory can concentrate on getting quality replacements. Names like Stubbs, Coleman and Howey have all been mentioned, but let's judge Gregory by the players he can get to play for Villa and not by those that want to leave.
Richard Barnett, Villa fan now living in Austin, Texas, USA.
 

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One of the three targets is Juninho from Atlético de Madrid. But the teams can't agree on the transfer fee. Atlético doesn't want to sell him for less then they bought him.

Juninho isn't wanted anymore in Atlético and now they are going to let him play some friendly's to attract some teams to buy him.
 
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