Former Manchester City and Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland has been linked with a possible move to Germany after being released by Stoke City at the end of last season.

The 31-year-old is currently a free agent and considering his options to play abroad, with a couple of ​Bundesliga clubs expressing their interest in the Irishman.

The Daily Mail reports that Ireland has spent time training with ​Bolton Wanderers during pre-season but did not manage to agree personal terms with the Lancashire outfit on a possible move to the ​Championship side for this season.

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The former Republic of Ireland international made just five appearances for Stoke after recovering from serious injury but is fit again and free to talk to other clubs about a possible contract, and it is rumoured that the gathering interest from Germany may see him play abroad for the first time in his career.

Ireland has had a long career at the top level in English football, making 138 appearances in five years for Manchester City, scoring 16 goals for the Citizens. He then went on to play 47 times for Aston Villa, twice for ​Newcastle United and 59 times for Stoke City before his eventual release from the club in June.