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Villa play down Rangers striker reports

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Aston Villa have distanced themselves from reports that they are close to signing Rangers striker Kris Boyd.

It has been claimed Boyd, 26, has spoken to Villa about signing a pre-contract with Martin O'Neill's side but Villa sources told Press Association Sport on Thursday that no deal was imminent.

Rangers' top scorer, who is currently injured, has been offered a new contract with the Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders, with his existing one due to expire in the summer.

He has also been linked with moves to Middlesbrough and Birmingham, with the latter coming close to landing the forward a year ago when talks broke down over personal terms.

Rangers agreed to sell him at that stage due to the club's financial difficulties, but manager Walter Smith has insisted he is currently under no pressure to offload players.

Smith is keen to tie Boyd up on a longer deal, while assistant Ally McCoist has said the club "would be crazy" not to try to keep him.

Last month saw Boyd break Henrik Larsson's all-time SPL goals record of 158 when he netted five in a 7-1 demolition of Dundee United.

That took his tally to the season to 19 goals, with his partnership with Kenny Miller contributing 31 to Rangers' SPL title bid.

Boyd underwent hernia surgery in Manchester last week and is expected to be out until the middle of next month.

The strike partnership of Boyd and Kenny Miller has produced 31 SPL goals so far this season, with Boyd contributing 19.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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