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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Bardsley will have to wait for Villa debut

Manchester United full-back Phil Bardsley has joined Aston Villa on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has become Martin O'Neill's first signing in the January transfer window.

Bardsley, who spent the first half of the campaign on loan to Rangers, would not be able to face the Red Devils in next Saturday's Premiership encounter at Old Trafford.

His first appearance for Villa would probably be in the home Premiership match against strugglers Watford on January 20.

O'Neill needs to help Villa find some mid-season impetus from somewhere, after their recent slump in form.

'We just want to start building the squad up a wee bit to give the players a helping hand,' he said.

'We have a hectic schedule in front of us in terms of trying to get players into the football club.

'We are going to try and get some players in. We had 17 players available for the United game. That was our quota. We have got to try and do something.'

O'Neill is keen to strengthen his back four, and 21-year-old right-back Bardsley's arrival would allow former captain Olof Mellberg to revert to his preferred role in the centre of defence.

A new striker is another priority for O'Neill, and Watford's Ashley Young is among his potential targets. The Villa chief is also being linked with Steaua Bucharest striker Nicolae Dica.

But he could not substantiate claims from the agent of Villa striker Milan Baros - on target in the 2-1 defeat against United - that the Czech international has rejected a move to Real Sociedad.

Baros' representative Pavel Paska said: 'Milan has not accepted the offer from this club [Real Sociedad]. There will be no more talks. If there is an appropriate offer from a club, we will consider it.'

O'Neill said: 'There has been no one from Sociedad in touch with me or the club about Milan Baros.'