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By ESPN Staff

New deal talks for McCann and Mellberg

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is to open talks with midfielder Gavin McCann and central defender Olof Mellberg over new contracts.

McCann and former skipper Mellberg both have 18 months remaining of their current deals and O'Neill is keen to sign up the duo on a long term basis.

The pair have been instrumental in helping Villa's crop of young players such as Gary Cahill, Liam Ridgewell, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Isaiah Osbourne to bed into the first team.

O'Neill said'I always intended once the transfer window was out of the way to sit down with Olof and Gavin regarding new contracts.

'I don't like players going into the last year of their contracts without their future having been sorted out.

'Gareth Barry was in a similar situation to Olof and Gavin but we had to move quickly there in terms of a new contract because of all the talk about him wanting to leave Villa.'

O'Neill added: 'Gavin has been an unsung hero for Villa but there is more to his play than just someone who wins the ball while Olof has also been splendid and also filled in and done a good job at right-back when he was asked to.

'He has seemed reinvigorated to me. '

Mellberg has reportedly been a target for Spanish side Levante but O'Neill insisted there has been no contact with the club and in any case would rebuff any attempts to sign the Swedish international.

Mellberg has expressed his desire to remain at Villa if they offer him a new contract.

He said: 'I would like to stay at Villa if they offer me a new contract. Definitely. I am not looking to leave. There is no reason to say `no' if there is a new contract offer.'