Hammer talks stall, again

Villa have offered the Germany international, whose contract expires in the summer, a new two-and-a-half-year deal but the talks have stalled as Villa refuse to up their offer for a player yet to establish himself as a first-team regular.

“It’s up to Thomas,” O’Leary said, incredulously shrugging his shoulders and taking a drag on a fat cigar. “It's his choice if he wants to leave Aston Villa. This club will be bigger than Tom. We want him to stay but the club has been good to Tom, has made him a good offer but I think that no way is Tom in the league of what the agent was wanting.

“They are getting carried away. Tom is a young player who hopefully will go on to be a really good player. He has got the potential but only time will tell whether he will be.” Hitzlsperger was recalled to the starting lineup on Saturday, when Villa capitulated in a 3-1 defeat by Everton.

But the 22-year-old insists the uncertainty surrounding his future is not affecting his own performances. “With the contract situation, it's not easy at the moment but fortunately it doesn't affect my game although it will be good to improve on Saturday's performance,” the fringe player said before turning to a nearby mirror, “You’re the best in the world Thomas, grrr.”