CHELSEA are preparing to step in with a persuasive 25m bid to snatch Aston Villaswing-wizardAshleyYoungbefore the start of the new season. The Blues have been following the England youngsters progress for months but with Villa boss Martin ONeill on the verge of signing Mid- dlesbroughsStewartDowningfor12m, they now believe a deal could be done -- at the right price. ChelseaseetheEnglandinternational, who can play on either wing, as provid- ing competition to Joe Cole, Florent Malouda and Yuri Zhirkov. Villa insist Young is not for sale but LiteSport understands they will listen to offers of 25m. That would mark a huge profit for Villa, who paid Watford 9.75m for him just two years ago. Young has made a big impression in the Midlands and although he feels a lot of loyalty towards manager ONeill, the 23-year-old willfindChelseahard to resist. The fact he is English makes him an attractive proposition as UEFAnowrequire teams to have e i g h t h o m e - grownplayersin theirChampions League squads. Tottenham are also very interested in Young and have been linked with a 25m bid involving David Bentley. But it is understood Villa are not prepared to sell him to a team who they consider to be one of their close rivals and a threat to their chances of qualifying for Europe next season. Spurs were also advised it was too late to make a last-minute bid to beat Villa to the signing of winger Downing, who has set his heart on joining ONeills side, who fell away after mounting a significantChampionsLeaguequalifica- tion bid last season. Spurs have been after the England international since 2006 and have had numerous negotiations with Middles- brough since then, but it appears 38 Thursday, 16 July 2009 London Lite LITESPORT Inbrief Roy attempts Green-Peace FULHAM manager Roy Hodgson has hit out at West Brom for describing the Cottagers offer for Jonathan Greening as derisory. The Baggies were offered 2m plus winger Hameur Bouazza in return for their captain -- a bid that was slammed by Baggies chairman Jeremey Peace. Hodgson said: I think its sad when people make those comments because I can assure you the offer was not derisory. Perhaps Fergie spoke too soon MANCHESTER UNITED chief executive David Gill is not ruling out the possibility of further new signings before the close of the transfer window. Sir Alex Ferguson stated earlier this week that he was not planning to make any more major purchases after being linked with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Gill said: I will start each day with the usual emails, Im sure there will be some player activity going on. Becks still likes taste of Galaxy ENGLAND midfielder David Beckham has launched a passionate defence of his professionalism as he prepares for his comeback game with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The former England skipper said: Im a very honest person. If I didnt want to be here, I wouldnt. Ive always been committed to every contract Ive had as a player - Manchester United, Real Madrid, Galaxy and that doesnt change. Zamora leaves Phil breathless HULL boss Phil Brown admits he is holding his breath about concluding a deal for Bobby Zamora. The player is due to hold talks over a move to the KC Stadium at the weekend once he returns from Fulhams pre-season trip to Australia, but Brown isnt getting carried away. Brown said: After the summer Ive had you just never know until its all signed, sealed and delivered. Lets just say Im holding my breath. Pompey Hart still pounding PORTSMOUTHS prospective new owner Sulaiman Al Fahim has hinted Paul Hart will remain as manager at Fratton Park. Al Fahim, who is expected to complete his takeover later this month, is set to keep faith with Hart, who kept Pompey up last season. Writing in a document entitled Portsmouth: The New Era, Al Fahim said: Mr Hart understands this club better than anyone coming in from outside. WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola is anxious to sign Brazilian forward Mancini. As it could be more than two months until Dean Ashton is fully fit, Zola is focusing on his bid to get the Inter Milan man. Zola said: He is one of the players who can improve us in the last 30 metres of the pitch. Jack Collison scored a penalty in last nights friendly with Flavia Solva in Austria, which finished in a 1-1 draw. The next test on the tour comes in the shape of German giants Werder Bremen on Saturday. Jamie OHara opened the scoring for Tottenham as they cruised to a 3-0 friendly win away to Exeter. OHara netted in the first half when the ball broke to him on the edge of the Exeter area. After the break good work by Luka Modric set up Aaron Lennon to make it 2-0 and Darren Bent got the third. Chelsea to bid 25m for new Cashley if Villa sign DowningBY NEAL COLLINS CHELSEA hope to get their tour of America off to a flying start by signing up FIVE players on new contracts while they are away, including Didier Drogba (left). The Blues head to the United States today with the futures of almost half their first team still undecided. But the club say they are confident Drogba, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, Florent Malouda and John Obi Mikel will all sign the new deals on offer to them. A spokesman said: Were very hopeful all five players will sign. Florent Malouda has already agreed terms while Mikel is also very close. Weve said before that Drogba has been offered a new contract and we hope he will sign before the start of the season. And the same goes for Joe Cole and Ashley Wizard on the wing: Aston Villas England wing Ashley Young is wanted by Chelsea -- and Tottenham Downing was not prepared to wait for them to make their move this time. Chelseahavebeenboostedbythenews that UEFA have reduced the bans handed out to Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwafortheirbehaviouraftertheir Champions League semi-final against Barcelona by one match. Drogbawillnowmissthreegamesand p a y a 1 2 , 8 0 0 f i n e , w h i l e Bosingwa will sit out two matches and pay 8,500. Both players also have a further two- game and one-match punishment respectively suspended for three years hanging over them. Chelsea still have to pay 8,500 for theirfailuretocontroltheirplayersand for their fans throwing missiles on the pitch. VillaifCashley CRYSTAL PALACE are set to make a move for Birmingham striker Garry OConnor. The Scotland international has fallen out of favour at St Andrews and is a loan target for Eagles boss Neil Warnock. OConnors chances are set to be limited at City next season with Blues boss Alex McLeish having broken the clubs transfer record to sign 7.7m striker Christian Benitez. The Scotland international scored seven goals last season but failed to establish himself as a regular in the starting line-up. And Warnock is now hoping to lure the 26-year- old to Selhurst Park with the promise of first-team football having already secured the signing of West Hams Freddie Sears on a similar deal. Eagle-eyed Palace stalking OConnor Outer Inter?: Brazilian Mancini wouldThat25m.ofoffersto t for Villa,mark a huge profi who paid Watford 9.75m for him just two years ago. bigamadehasYoung impression in the Midlands oflotafeelshealthoughand managertowardsloyalty ONeill, the 23-year-old hardChelseandfiwill to resist. The fact he makesEnglishis attractiveanhim asproposition requirenowUEFA areTottenham ininterestedveryalso beenhaveandYoung international since 2006 and have had Middles-withnegotiationsnumerous appearsitbutthen,sincebrough yingCHELSEA hope to get their tour of America off to a fl start by signing up FIVE players on new contracts while they are away, including Didier Drogba The Blues head to the United States today with the futures rst team still undecided. But the clubof almost half their fi dent Drogba, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole,say they are confi Florent Malouda and John Obi Mikel will all sign the new deals on offer to them. ve playersA spokesman said: Were very hopeful all fi will sign. Florent Malouda has already agreed terms while Mikel is also very close. 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