Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has confirmed his interest in signing out-of-favour Roma full-back Ashley Cole when the transfer window re-opens next month.
The Villa manager is set for talks with the club’s board next week over his plans for the transfer window and Cole’s situation at Roma has seen him emerge as a genuine target.
Cole, who will be 35 later this month, has not played for the Italian side since March and is out of contract at the end of the season. Roma could let him leave on loan or even agree to terminate his contract in January.
And after Jordan Amavi suffered a serious knee injury which has ruled him out for the campaign, Garde is keen to sign a new left-back.
“Every good player is interesting for me and Ashley is a good player,” said Garde. “He is someone who has experience but he didn’t play for a while now. Experience is also something we need. I will speak soon with the club and I’m already working on the January window. We know what we want to do.
“I feel we will need to improve the team to get more chances [to stay up]. For the moment, we have other games to play and to try to win, I am only focused completely on that.”
Cole has not played in the Premier League since May 2014, shortly before leaving Chelsea after nearly eight years with the club. Since joining Roma on a free transfer he has only made 11 starts in Serie A yet is understood to be settled in Italy, so deciding to join a relegation battle with Villa may not appeal.
Garde is also targeting other signings, including a goalkeeper, striker and a creative midfielder, and will offload players to raise further funds.
Libor Kozak, the Czech Republic international forward who has barely figured since breaking his leg in training nearly two years ago, is likely to join Celtic in January after the Scottish club’s manager Ronny Delia watched him score twice for Villa’s under-21s on Monday.
Garde is still searching for his first victory with Villa bottom of the Premier League and facing Arsenal on Sunday.
Jack Grealish will be available for selection after returning to train with the first-team, following his two weeks with the under-21s.
Garde said: “We are seven points away from the safe zone and it’s many points, but so were Leicester last season. If they can do it, then why can’t we?”