By Derek Smithson
Derby are set to challenge Aston Villa for Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claim that Villa have already had a £500,000 bid rejected by the Premier League side and they are looking for £1million.
It is understood that owner Tony Xia has not returned with another move due to concerns over their recent spending, while Championship rivals Derby could now make a move for Whelan.
The report details that Derby boss Gary Rowett is an admirer of the 33-year-old and could try to take him to the iPro Stadium.
Whelan has become an important player for Stoke since his arrival in 2008 from Sheffield Wednesday and has racked up 337 appearances for the Potters.
The midfielder is renowned for his defensive work and ws a key man last season, making 31 appearances across all competitions.
He also has 81 international caps under his belt for the Republic of Ireland and captained his country during the recent 1-1 draw against Austria in a World Cup qualifier.
Football Insider verdict:
Villa need to make sure they beat rivals Derby in the race to sign Whelan as he could be a great addition to either Championship club. The 33-year-old has proven to be a solid Premier League performer in recent years and showed last year that he is still at that level. He is an underrated player at the Britannia Stadium and keeps things ticking over in the midfielder. Villa manager Bruce should convince Xia to spend £1million on the Ireland international as he it the type of player that can help them obtain promotion next season. He would be able to dictate matches in the Championship and could for a very solid platform alongside Mile Jedinak in midfielder, allowing the attacking players a free licence further forward.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, their 28-year-old is being lined up by a European club.