Villa decision up to Beattie


Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis has admitted his club's hopes of landing £6.5million striker James Beattie now lie with the player.

Villa and Everton are battling it out for the Southampton forward's signature after both having bids accepted and while Ellis is hopeful of success gave little away.

"We are dealing with it," he said when asked about the Beattie situation on BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.

"There are two clubs in for him and in the end, it is a matter for the boy if he wants to come.

"Our money is as good as anybody else's."

Ellis and his Barclays Premiership counterparts are busily trying to push through deals to strengthen their squad following the opening of the January transfer window yesterday, although the Villa supremo is not entirely convinced about the current system.

"There are pros and cons about it," he said.

"There are some good things about it. It stops, with great respect, silly chairman buying and selling at the drop of a hat as you might say, because they know it is January or alternatively the summer.

"But on the other hand, for the sake of the smaller clubs - and that is why in the lower divisions, they can do business outside the windows - even say the bottom clubs in the Premier League, they would like to be able to save a situation at any time during the year, as it always was before the window was introduced.

"The windows were introduced by FIFA and so we have to abide by them."

Villa dragged themselves back into ninth place in the Barclays Premiership with yesterday's 1-0 victory over Blackburn, and although that is shy of their ambitions, Ellis believes they can yet prosper this season.

"We have suffered just recently and that has been a bit of a blow because we were lying sixth and suddenly, we were 11th," he said.

"It is going to be difficult to make up those extra points, but we will.

There are one of two things happening which I cannot tell you about right now but over the next few weeks, I think you will find us gradually creeping up."