Craig Whyte won’t swap Allan McGregor to get Carlos Cuellar

CRAIG WHYTE last night warned Aston Villa that Allan McGregor is not for sale as he stepped up his efforts to tempt them into letting Carlos Cuellar move in the opposite direction.

Whyte spoke out yesterday at Ibrox as he unveiled Gordon Smith and Ali Russell as the new cornerstones of his boardroom overhaul.

But Whyte has still to make any significant headway in helping new manager Ally McCoist build a squad robust enough to mount a title defence.

He confirmed yesterday that a formal bid has now been lodged for Cuellar, while remaining adamant he will not enter into a trade-off involving keeper McGregor.

Whyte also stressed he does not agree with Dundee United’s £2million valuation of striker David Goodwillie but insisted discussions between the clubs will continue.

Whyte – who is still trying to persuade McGregor, Steve Davis and Steven Whittaker to pen new contracts – is determined to start getting deals over the line.

But he insists Scotland No.1 McGregor – a top target for new Villa boss Alex McLeish – will not be flogged to get the ball rolling.

Whyte said bullishly: “I’ve said that McGregor is not for sale. We haven’t been approached by anyone about him so far.

“As far as Cuellar is concerned we have made a formal offer. We are actively discussing it.”

Yesterday, having rejected the price tag United have placed on Goodwillie, he made it clear to rival clubs he will not be pressurised into paying over the odds.

He added: “We would like to get some signings in as soon as possible but don’t want to bring in the wrong players.

“We have spoken about bringing in five or six new players and that is probably the required amount.

“With Scottish clubs the price always seems to go up when they are dealing with Rangers or Celtic. But we are not going to overpay. We won’t be pushovers to deal with.”

Asked if he felt United were asking too much for Goodwillie, Whyte added: “I would say that price is too steep but I’m sure there are conversations to be had.

“It’s a learning curve as I’ve never run a club before but dealing with transfers is not a lot different from other business deals.”