Sheffield Wednesday: Owls old boy Joe Bennett on the brink of joining Cardiff, claims Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia

Aston Villa chairman Dr Tony Xia has today claimed Cardiff City are close to signing former Sheffield Wednesday loanee Joe Bennett on a free transfer.

Friday, 26th August 2016, 14:15 pm
Updated Friday, 26th August 2016, 15:19 pm
Joe Bennett

The left-back, who spent last season on loan at Hillsborough, has attracted the interest of several Championship clubs, including the Owls, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest.

But Chinese businessman Xia has suggested Bennett is on the brink of moving to South Wales.

He tweeted: “We have agreed to let Joe move to Cardiff for free but not subside any wages. Wish him a bright career there as many SW fans expected!”

Bennett, who played four times for the Owls in their march to the Championship Play-Off final, has slipped down in the pecking order behind Aly Cissokho and Jordan Amavi at Villa Park.

The 26-year-old looked set to rejoin Wednesday a fortnight ago until Xia blocked the transfer at the eleventh hour. Both clubs had agreed on a transfer fee and Bennett had passed a medical before Xia pulled the plug, citing they would not sell to a direct Championship rival.

Contrary to reports, this newspaper has learned Bennett was prepared to take a pay cut to join Carvalhal’s side and Villa would not have subsidised any of the player’s wages.