Villa sources deny O'Neill exit

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Aston Villa sources have dismissed reports which claimed manager Martin O'Neill had quit the midlands club.

Radio and internet reports suggested O'Neill had decided to end his four-year reign at Villa Park following disagreements with club owner Randy Lerner over his transfer budget for next season.

O'Neill's odds to be the next Barclays Premier League manager to leave his post were slashed from 66-1 to 7-1.

Villa are unwilling to comment officially on reports which they are adamant are wide of the mark.

But sources close to the club are adamant the claims O'Neill has opted to leave are "pure nonsense".

O'Neill spent heavily last summer in bringing in the likes of James Milner (£12million), Stephen Warnock (£7million), Richard Dunne (£6million), Fabian Delph (£6million) James Collins (£5million) and Habib Beye (£3million).

He recouped £12 million of this outlay from the sale of Gareth Barry to Manchester City.

But in January O'Neill admitted he had to adhere to a "sell to buy" policy if he was to bring in new players during that transfer window.

And he did not add to his squad and sold midfielder Craig Gardner to local rivals Birmingham for £3million.

O'Neill has admitted Villa do not have the strength in depth of the established leading clubs in the top flight.

And his squad is now being stretched to the limit because of injuries to Dunne, John Carew, Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner and Stiliyan Petrov with several of them playing when not 100% fit.

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