Roberto Di Matteo confident Aston Villa will keep Ciaran Clark

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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.


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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