By Amir Mir

Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed West Brom target Ciaran Clark will stay at the club, amid interest from their rivals, according to a report.

The centre-back has been attracting interest from Tony Pulis’ side in recent weeks, as the Express and Star report the 26-year-old has a £5million release clause in his contract.

But, the recently appointed manager confirmed that Clark is here to stay, and wants to help the club win promotion back to the Premier League.

“Ciaran is a Villa man,” said Di Matteo as quoted by the Express and Star. “A Villa boy, he has pledged his future to us, he will be staying with us.

“He is very happy to be with us, to stay here. I know he has a long-term contract as well.”

The Italian claimed that Villa are yet to receive an offer for the defender as Di Matteo bids to keep the experienced player at the club.

Clark is a graduate of the Villa academy and has racked up over 100 top-flight appearances for the club since making his debut as teenager in 2009.

The Republic of Ireland defender will receive a mixed reception from the Villa supporters, with some blaming him in part for the club conceding 76 goals last term.

Others would see Clark as one of the better performing defenders at the club, after a miserable Premier League campaign. Other Villa players from last season have had their commitment questioned by the fanbase.

Clark will be hoping to start at the heart of the club’s defence as they prepare for a gruelling Championship season on 7 August.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, manager Roberto Di Matteo has this message for a recently departed Villa flop.