Newcastle and Aston Villa in shock race for Stoke City ace

Stoke City midfielder is reportedly a target for former clubs Newcastle and Aston Villa ahead of the January transfer window, according to talkSPORT.

The 29-year old Irishman has seen playing time with the Potters limited following the arrival of the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan and Ibrahim Afellay.

Despite having a contract at the Britannia that runs until the summer of 2017, the former Man City ace has not started a single Premier League game all season.

In fact, he last appeared for the club back in October in the game with Swansea City.

Now, reportedly looking for a way out, the ex-Ireland international could be set for a surprising return to one of his former clubs.

Both Newcastle and Aston Villa are said to be eyeing a shock swoop when the transfer window reopens in January.

He had a brief stint on loan in the North East while contracted to the Villa Park outfit in 2011.