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Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish wants to sign Fulham veteran winger Damien Duff – but will have to balance the books to make it happen.

McLeish is plotting a surprise raid for the Republic of Ireland wide man and he could be available for around £1.5 million in the window.

But even that low figure – plus his wages – will have to be levelled by money coming in as owner Randy Lerner orders a financial crackdown at the Midlands club.

Duff could be persuaded to head for Villa where there is already an Irish colony with skipper Richard Dunne and keeper Shay Given, but the move would have to be right for him at his stage of his career.

Boss McLeish is trying to perform some financial juggling and is also considering some possible free transfer arrivals, including Blackburn Rovers misfit Keith Andrews.

Republic of Ireland midfielder Andrews has been on loan at Ipswich but his advisers are looking to find him a new home – without a transfer fee.

McLeish is leading the chase, with Andrews a decent option if he sells one of his present midfielders for cash in the next few weeks.

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