Alex McLeish is keen to add further experience to his Aston Villa midfield, but faces a juggling act in terms of the need to reduce the West Midlands club's obtuse wage bill in the process.

One player that has been linked with a return to Villa Park is free agent Thomas Hitzlsperger, who left West Ham at the end of the 2010-11 campaign following their relegation to the Npower Championship.

The 29-year-old German international played for Villa earlier in his career, and has added to his Barclays Premier League experience and know-how after one season at Upton Park.

"Thomas' name has been mentioned against a number of other players," confirmed McLeish. "If it came to a choice, we'd have to think about everything if we were able to get that choice.

"Maybe in midfield, in terms of experience, we are a little bit lacking."

Nevertheless, McLeish recognises that there will be no new faces unless he can offload certain players who do not figure in the Scot's first-team plans.


"I've said, all along, since I joined the club, that we won't be bringing players in until we trade. We still have a very heavy wage bill and we've got to try and work with Randy Lerner and Aston Villa to adjust that.

"There are players at the club we respect totally but who haven't played much first-team football and we have to try and let them seek football somewhere else.

"But, at the same time, getting the wages off the bill would then allow us to look at other incomings."

Quizzed with what his hopes and aspirations are for the season ahead, McLeish played down expectations but insisted the club's revised approach would not prevent him for striving for success.

"I think we are a work in progress this season," he concluded. "We have to rely on some patience and we also have to have a steady season.

"If it's spectacular then brilliant, that's what we aim for, but we've got to have a steady season. I'd love to finish as high as I can but I think that people have to be patient."

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