• 37-year-old goalkeeper available on loan – at a price
• 'I'm fit as a fiddle and raring to get a chance,' says Given
Aston Villa will listen to loan offers for Shay Given from Championship clubs but they have no intention of allowing the former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper to leave on the cheap. Liverpool tried to take him on loan before the transfer deadline but Villa rejected their approach after the Merseyside club offered to pay only a fraction of the player's wages, and that stance will not soften when it comes to Championship teams registering interest.
Given lost his place to Brad Guzan at the start of last season and he has dropped further down the pecking order following the signing of the 20-year-old Jed Steer from Norwich City in the summer. With Given believed to be earning about £3m a year on a five-year contract that runs until 2016, Villa are keen to find a club to subsidise the player's wages but they see no point in agreeing a deal that would leave them picking up a high proportion of the salary and short of cover if Guzan or Steer got injured.
It seems unlikely that a club outside the Premier League would have the financial wherewithal to cover even half of Given's wages, which raises the prospect of the 37-year-old enduring another frustrating season and Villa writing off a significant sum of money in the process.
Given, who has not played a competitive game since Villa lost 2-1 at Millwall in the FA Cup in January, remains hopeful that the situation will change. "Of course it's just frustrating not playing, it's hard to keep training and know there's no game at the end of the week," he said. "Things can change quickly in football with injuries and suspensions and if I get an opportunity I've got to be ready to take it if that hopefully comes along. I'm fit as a fiddle and feel really sharp. I'm just raring to get that chance.
"I played in Stiliyan Petrov's testimonial in front of 60,000 fans at the weekend and as a player that's all you want to do, to show people you've still got the ability to play in the Premier League."