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Stephen Ireland sounded out over potential move to MLS with New York Red Bulls

Stephen Ireland sounded out over potential move to MLS with New York Red Bulls

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Hans Backe, the New York coach, worked with the Irishman during his time at Manchester City and is keen on bringing the midfielder to the Big Apple

EXCLUSIVE
By Alex Labidou

Stephen Ireland has been subject to an approach from New York Red Bulls, Goal.com understands.

The Aston Villa midfielder is under contract at Villa Park until 2014 but is due to consult with the MLS outfit in May about a prospective move Stateside.

Ireland's salary, around £80,000 per week, is within New York's budget and the move would be seen as groundbreaking due to the Irishman's age - only 25.

Traditionally, players make the move from Europe to MLS in the latter days of their careers but Ireland's transfer would signal the first 'prime' player to swap the old continent for USA.

New York manager, Hans Backe, is well known to Ireland having worked with him as assistant manager during Sven Goran Eriksson's reign at Manchester City during the 2007-08 season.

Furthermore, the Swede wants to deploy a traditional 'number 10' in his side and Ireland would fit the bill.

Dejan Drobnjak, an agent for W3 Soccer, which works with both Ireland and Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic - a target for Seattle Sounders, would not confirm that any contractual details have taken place.

But he did reveal that both clients would be interested to raise the profile of MLS.

"Both guys would love a new challenge and MLS continues to grow bigger each season," Drobnjak told Goal.com.

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