Aston Villa will not part with star wingers Stewart Downing and Ashley Young during the January transfer window, boss Gerard Houllier has insisted.
Villa paid a club-record fee, believed to be £18m, for Sunderland striker Darren Bent on Tuesday in a bid to boost their firepower having netted just 24 goals in 22 Premier League games.
And Houllier is determined to keep hold of the seven-time England cap’s supply line in Downing and Young, who have been linked with moves away from Villa Park this season, as the Midlands club look to climb away from the relegation zone.
The Frenchman said: “They are not for sale - as simple as that. Whether it's Stewart or Ashley, they won't be leaving. They are rumours.
“We are absolutely delighted to have Darren here because we know he will be a tremendous asset for the months and years ahead.
“We brought him here to spearhead our efforts and to help build something strong and lasting at our club. Darren's arrival is a key element of our football strategy and philosophy.
“There are not many young English players who have the pedigree and the finishing class that Darren has shown over a number of years in the Premier League.
“This is a great day for our fans, this is a major milestone for Aston Villa Football Club. His arrival sends out a clear message about the ambitions of this club.”