PAUL LAMBERT has given his blessing to Stephen Ireland turning his loan move to Stoke City into a permanent deal.
Villa outcast Ireland, 27, has been given the chance to play first team football since joining Stoke on loan earlier this season and now the clubs are in talks about a long-term move.
"I've got no issue with Stephen at all, I never have done," said Villa manager Lambert, whose side face Arsenal tonight.
"I don't want to stop anyone from playing football. I think they're trying to do something at the minute, so I'll just wait and see," said Lambert.
"It's up to the clubs really between them how they're going to do it."
His counterpart at Stoke, Mark Hughes, is also eager to seal a deal for the Cork native, especially as a permanent move would remove any of the red tape issues associated with loan deals.
"We've had conversations with Villa and we would like it to be concluded," said Hughes, whose team currently lie in 11th in the Premier League.
"If it does happen it frees up another loan for us domestically that would give us a bit of flexibility, which would help.
"We'll try and use that loan in a good way.
"We'll be pleased if it does come off and there's no reason to think it wouldn't.
"If Stephen does join permanently it's credit to him. Since he's been here he has done very well."