New York’s Red Bulls have been linked with an audacious move for Irish midfielder Stephen Ireland.

Reports in the New York Times and the Irish Sun claim the MLS side are interested in the Aston Villa player.

Ireland is currently in great form with Aston Villa and contracted to the Premier League side for another two years.

Bulls boss Hans Backe – who worked with Ireland at Manchester City – has already rebuffed the advances of German playmaker Michael Ballack.

The former Chelsea midfielder and Germany captain is keen to move to America in the summer and wanted to play in New York.


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The reports state that Backe has no interest in Ballack’s services and instead wants to sign a young midfielder as his third designated player outside the salary cap.

That’s where Stephen Ireland comes into the picture with Backe keen to test the waters with the player when the transfer window opens in July.

The cash rich Red Bulls can even offer Ireland a deal to match the €3.5million a year Thierry Henry currently enjoys in New York.

But they are conscious that it will take a major sell to get Villa to part with Ireland after his recent run of form.

“Hans is well aware that Stephen Ireland is on fire with Aston Villa right now but he wants to sign an exciting young player and he knows from old that Stephen fits the bill,” a US source told Irish SunSport.

“It would be some coup to persuade Villa to sell the player and to entice him to come to America.

“But David Beckham, Thierry Henry and now Robbie Keane have made their mark in the MLS and New York could suit Stephen Ireland.”