Watford are looking to bring Ashley Young back to the club to bolster their relegation battle, but they face competition for his signature, TEAMtalk understands.
The 36-year-old former England international is not in the long-term plans of Villa boss Steven Gerrard, who will not stand in his way.
Young is out of contract at the end of the season, as they won’t be taking up their option on him. It is believed Villa will let him leave for nothing, as long as his wages are covered.
Watford’s new boss Roy Hodgson is looking to make some in-roads in the transfer market and Young is someone he has targeted.
Young earned 11 of his 39 caps for England under Hodgson and now they could reunite at club level.
Young rejected the chance to join Watford in the summer when he chose to join another former club in the shape of Villa. He has since made 13 appearances in his second spell with the club, including six since Gerrard took charge.
But the new manager is open to allowing the former Manchester United and Inter Milan wide man to leave. As such, Watford want to take advantage.
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However, we understand that there are other clubs interested in him – including their main relegation rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City.
Dean Smith took Young to Villa and would like a reunion, whilst Newcastle believe he could be a valuable addition in the coming weeks.
Gerrard has praised Ashley Young
After his appointment at Aston Villa, Gerrard spoke enthusiastically about Young’s leadership skills.
“I know Ashley extremely well and he’s been absolutely outstanding since we walked through the door. Not just on the training pitch but his leadership and standard-setting,” the Liverpool legend said.
“We see players like him as an outer-layer of the staff, if you like, who really help us when we need to lean on him.
“He was ready and the big thing about Ash is he can play right-back, left-back, he can play as an eight, a 10 or wide. That’s what good players allow you to do as a manager, allow you to play in different ways.”
But now, with Villa having reinforced in some of the positions he can play, they could part ways with Young.