Wednesday media watch [27.01.16]
Birmingham Mail: Villa are not giving up on their pursuit of goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. The 25-year-old appeared to be edging closer to a move from Hajduk Split only for a work permit to be denied at the back end of last week. Villa desperately want to make the 6ft 7ins Croatian international stopper their first signing of the year and are now considering a second appeal after the first was rejected by the FA.
Express and Star: Villa are attempting to resurrect a deal for Hadjuk Split goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. The 25-year-old Croatian international had been poised for a £4.9million switch to Villa Park, only for the move to collapse when he was denied a work permit. A first appeal against the FA's decision was rejected but Villa are now considering a second as boss Rémi Garde looks to snare a player he sees as the ideal replacement for Brad Guzan. The Frenchman, who has experienced continued frustration in attempts to bolster his squad, did at least complete his first signing of January yesterday when Eric Black was confirmed as the club's new assistant manager.
Birmingham Mail: Eric Black has been appointed as the new first-team coach at Villa. Boss Remi Garde personally selected the 52-year-old to join his coaching team after the French speaking Scot impressed him in a recent meeting. Garde knew of Black before his arrival in England because of the former Metz striker's dealings back in his homeland.
Sunderland Echo Online: Mathieu Debuchy is facing a choice between Premier League basement boys Sunderland and Aston Villa to keep his Euro 2016 hopes alive. Sunderland have made a late move to pip Villa to the signing of Arsenal defender Debuchy, with Sam Allardyce still eager to strengthen his right-back options, as he has been throughout the January transfer window. Debuchy is keen to leave the Emirates to play regular first-team football and secure a place in the France squad for the summer's European Championships, and Arsenal will not stand in the ex-Newcastle United man's way. But Sunderland will need to pip Villa to Debuchy's signing after new boss Rémi Garde has been pursuing his fellow Frenchman throughout the transfer window. Despite Sunderland's interest emerging, it is understood that Villa remain keen to sign Debuchy, although he is not the main priority in the last few days of the window for Garde.
Birmingham Mail: Aston Villa skipper Micah Richards has sensationally revealed that he asked Mario Balotelli for a fight during their time at Man City. Richards was a guest on Sky's TV show 'A League Of Their Own' and revealed details of the bust-up he had with the controversial Italian. The pair clashed during a training session in the middle of a game of five-a-side. Richards revealed: "Mario Balotelli just thinks he's the best at everything. Thinks he's the best looking," said Richards. We were playing five-a-side and we were losing because he didn't work, which is evident. He swore at me in Italian and he thought I didn't understand. But I know a bit of Italian lingo so I said, 'Who you talking to? He said it again so we squared up and and I offered him out. But he said no."
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Liverpool won a penalty shootout against Stoke City at Anfield to reach the Capital One Cup final as manager Jurgen Klopp ensured his first season in charge will bring a trip to Wembley. Marko Arnautovic scored for Stoke to claw back Liverpool's one-goal advantage from the first leg - but it was agony for Mark Hughes' side when it came to spot-kicks. Much-criticised Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was Liverpool's hero with saves from Peter Crouch and Marc Muniesa, allowing substitute Joe Allen to step forward to secure a meeting with either Manchester City or neighbours Everton at Wembley on 28 February.
Sky Sports: Roma have signed forward Stephan El Shaarawy on loan from AC Milan with an option for a permanent deal worth close to £10million.The 23-year-old will be the replacement for Gervinho after the Ivory Coast international joined Chinese side Hebei Fortune on Tuesday.
BBC Sport: Newcastle have agreed a fee, believed to be about £12m, to sign Tottenham's England winger Andros Townsend. The 24-year-old has made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League this season.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.