Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has confirmed his liking of Bordeaux winger Wahbi Khazri as he prepares to bolster his squad in the January transfer window.
Villa are 10 points off safety in the Premier League following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United, and Garde may look for players he trusts to join the survival fight.
On Khazri, Garde said: “He’s a player that I know well because before he left Bastia for Bordeaux I was interested in this player with Lyon.
Garde also confirmed he is keeping an eye on the situation of Gokhan Inler at Leicester City.
He said: “I’m aware of this (Inler’s) situation because I’ve looked at all the players who could be interested in this situation because of the Euros. I don’t want to say to you where he is on my list.
“Of course, every player who will play Euros I am interested in because they are good players. It doesn’t mean they will come or that I have already called them. But I know him very well.”
Villa have also been linked with former West Ham midfielder Morgan Amalfitano in Wednesday’s newspapers.
Garde, meanwhile, has declared himself happy with the improvement in the fitness levels of his players since he took over.
The boss has made changes to training at Bodymoor Heath since replacing Tim Sherwood in November.
Villa parted company with two fitness coaches brought in under Sherwood soon after Garde’s November arrival as ex-Villa fitness coach Robert Duverne, who worked under Gerard Houllier, returned.
Of his current players it is understood Charles N’Zogbia and Gabby Agbonlahor – two players who could be sold next month – need to do more at Bodymoor to convince Garde.
Asked whether Villa’s players lacked fitness when he took over, Garde said: “Yes, I felt that, but I don’t want to judge what happened before.
“It was just my feeling that we could improve a little bit more in this area of the game because it’s very important in this country.
“You have a lot of duels and the rhythm and the pace is very high and I feel we have improved a lot.
“When I arrived someone told me that the team was last in terms of running on statistics.
“I am not very keen on statistics because they can say one thing and you can find another statistic to prove the opposite so I am very careful with stats.
“But nevertheless you have to look at it and I know that we have improved in this area.”