ASTON VILLA are still considering pushing ahead with a move for Daniel Sturridge after his lenient ban for breaching betting regulations.
The former Chelsea and Liverpool striker, 29, will be available to play again on July 31 despite being handed a six-week ban.
1 Daniel Sturridge could sign for Aston Villa and be available to play again in two weeks after his light punishment for breaching betting regulationsCredit: PA:Empics Sport
That is because a regulatory commission handed Sturridge a £75,000 fine and the ban, but four of those weeks are suspended, meaning he could be back in action within a fortnight.
And Premier League new boys Aston Villa – who are looking to replace the goals scored by Tammy Abraham last term – could be tempted, according to the Mirror.
Sturridge was released by Liverpool at the end of last season meaning he would be available on a free transfer.
And it would be a romantic return to Villa for the former England striker.
Born in Birmingham, he spent four years at the academy before leaving for Coventry aged 13.
There is also foreign interest in a player who netted 67 goals in 160 games for Liverpool.
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Villa have already spent a club-record £22million on Club Brugge striker Wesley Moraes.
The Brazilian fired in 17 goals for the Belgian side last season, 13 more than Sturridge managed for the Reds. Abraham, who has returned to parent club Chelsea, scored 26.
The Football Association launched an immediate appeal after Sturridge's punishment was made public yesterday.
He was found to have told his brother Leon to place bets on him moving to Sevilla during the transfer window in January 2018.
But an independent regulatory commission dismissed a further nine charges against the former Liverpool man linked to the inside information rules – even though he ended up joining West Brom on loan and not moving to Spain.
The FA are understood to be upset over the leniency of the sentence, believing it is not a big enough punishment for what they consider to be serious offences.
Sturridge admitted that he's "extremely disappointed" upon hearing of the FA's decision to appeal.
He said: "I am pleased that nine of the 11 charges were dismissed and that the panel found me to be an honest and credible witness, and that my actions on one particularly difficult day were out of character.
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"The case was heard over seven days by a distinguished panel, which resulted in a lengthy and carefully considered decision, and followed an extensive investigation by the FA.
"It is therefore extremely disappointing to hear that the FA will be appealing this decision. I will continue to defend the case and the appeal.
"I am training hard and fully focused on the upcoming football season."