Last Updated: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 08:00
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray has played down reports that he wants to sign Aston Villa's out-of-favour midfielder Stephen Ireland.
Villa boss Paul Lambert has earmarked the 26-year-old former Republic of Ireland international as one player he is looking to offload this summer after he featured in just 13 Premier League games last season.
And while there has not been much interest in Ireland from rival top-flight clubs, reports suggested that Boro had asked for first refusal on Ireland in the hope he would drop down to the Championship.
However, when quizzed about his possible interest, Mowbray was quick to play down talk of a move simply because the Teessiders would struggle to pay Ireland's wages - even on a season-long loan capacity.
"I don't think there's anything to be said on that," Mowbray told The Gazette.
"I think you've got to put it in context. Stephen Ireland was at Manchester City not too long ago and he's with a Premier League club on a Premier League salary.
"I don't think he's gone on Villa's pre-season trip.
"I think with deals - whether it's Stephen Ireland or any Premier League player - clubs go through pre-season, assess their squads, and then make decisions about footballers pretty late on."
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