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Roberto Di Matteo confident Aston Villa will keep Ciaran Clark

Sport | Published:

Boss Roberto Di Matteo is confident Albion-target Ciaran Clark will stay with Villa.

The 26-year-old defender has a £5 million release clause in his contract and the Baggies are understood to have a long-term interest in the Republic of Ireland international.

But Villa are yet to receive any bids and Di Matteo believes Clark, who first joined the club aged 11 and signed a new five-year deal last summer, is ready to play his part in getting them back into the Premier League.

"Ciaran is a Villa man, a Villa boy, he has pledged his future to us, he will be staying with us," said the manager.

"He is very happy to be with us, to stay here. I know he has a long-term contract as well."

One player the manager is resigned to losing is Idrissa Gana with the midfielder set to complete a move to Everton over the weekend.

The Toffees triggered a £7.2million release clause in the Senegal international's contract, leaving Villa powerless to prevent the loss of a player Di Matteo would ideally like to have kept.

Under no pressure to sell, the Italian is more confident of keeping Jordan Ayew, despite the striker being coveted by a host of clubs across the continent.

The manager remains keen however to further trim the club's bloated squad of players who are surplus to requirements.

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Goalkeeper Brad Guzan yesterday became the third player to leave Villa this summer when he completed a free transfer to Middlesbrough. Defender Juan Angel Crespo and attacking midfielder Carles Gil have already been moved on.

Di Matteo said: "He's had a really good time here. He's been very loyal.

"As with everything in life, it has a start and end. His career here at Villa has come to an end.

"But he's quite pleased to play in the Premier League. We wish him good luck and a successful time at Middlesbrough."

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