Villa set to sign first Indian footballer (9 Mar) 
Aston Villa could be poised to introduce the FA Carling Premiership's first Indian footballer after taking international striker Bhaichung Bhutia on trial. 

 The 21-year-old has appeared 31 times for his country, scoring 21 goals, and has permission from  his club East Bengal to train at Villa Park this week. 

 Villa manager John Gregory plans to assess the player's qualities before deciding whether to invest  in a forward who would command a nominal fee. 

 Gordon Smith, acting as the player's agent, said today: ``Bhaichung is regarded as India's top  footballer and Villa are keen to have a look at him. 

 ``The club have offered him training facilities for a few days to see if he will like it over here and if  he feels he can settle. 

 ``There is a large Indian community within the West Midlands area and the club are keen to search  for fresh talent which reflects this.''

Martin Sivorn © 1999.E-Mail Me