Villa Vie For Johnson

Villa are aiming to turn the tables on Manchester City with a bid for midfielder Michael Johnson.

The England Under 21 starlet is on the road back to full fitness after sustaining an abdominal injury last September which ruled him out for the season.

Prior to that blow, Johnson had been establishing himself as a first team member and he even netted against Villa in 2007 at Eastlands.

However, despite returning to play 45 minutes in a recent friendly against Orlando Pirates in South Africa, the talented central midfielder now finds his first team chances limited.

The signing of Gareth Barry from the Claret and Blue and the fine form of Stephen Ireland looks set to mean Johnson will only start games from the bench and Martin O'Neill could be set to offer him a different option.

O'Neill is thought to be keen to add to his midfield options to replace key man Barry and ironically the former Villans' move could pave the way for the signing of Johnson.

An offer of around £8m could tempt Mark Hughes who of course doesn't need the money but what he also doesn't want is an unhappy player on his hands.