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By ESPN Staff

Villa offer Agathe short-term deal

Aston Villa have offered a short-term deal to defender Didier Agathe who had previously played for manager Martin O'Neill at Celtic.

The Frenchman, who had a trial at Blackburn during the summer, has been training with Villa for the past three weeks.

O'Neill is hoping he will put pen to paper with the incentive of securing a longer contract if he impresses.

O'Neill said: 'I'm hoping Didier will take up a short-term contract offer we've given him. Obviously the Didier Agathe of a couple of seasons ago would be a great addition to the squad.

'He's not had the greatest of times in recent months but I've seen enough in the short time he's been here with us. He played in the reserve game at Reading and, particularly in the second half, he did enough to deserve this offer.'

'If he can return to the form I know he's capable of, I'm hoping he might see this as an opportunity to secure a longer term deal here at Villa Park.'

O'Neill added: 'I've seen a hunger in Didier to get back to his best and I'll be absolutely delighted if he can get remotely close to it.

'He's played at a high level. He's played in the Champions League and was tremendous for Celtic in the UEFA Cup run a few seasons ago. If he can get back to his best, he has plenty to offer.'

If Agathe signs, it will provide O'Neill with much-needed defensive cover given the injuries to Mark Delaney and Gary Cahill plus Martin Laursen's slow return to fitness after a long-term knee setback.