Aston Villa have parted company with Croatian striker Bosko Balaban.

Villa spent £5.8m on the Croatian striker in August 2001,, but during that time the former Dynamo Zagreb player has not started a Premier League match.

Balaban still had two-and-a-half years of his contract left to run.

The club informed the Stock Exchange that they would be losing money on the player, but by getting rid of him now they they would still save £2m.

A Villa statement said: “Aston Villa will recognise, in the financial year ended May 31 2004, a pre-tax player trading loss on the termination (after deduction of the unamortised costs) of £3.2m.

“However, Aston Villa will benefit from substantial savings in wages and future amortisation costs.

“In cash terms this represents a saving of £2m spread over the remaining term of the contract.”