Aston Villa have reportedly begun discussions over a summer swoop for Lens defensive midfielder Cheick Doucoure.
The 21-year-old had an impressive season with the Ligue 1 outfit last year, scoring four times and adding an assist from his midfield holding role. That form led to a number of clubs showing interest, with Villa leading the way among Premier League sides.
According to Goal, Villa have already made contact with the player’s representatives but they are yet to submit a formal bid.
Lens are reportedly chasing a fee of around €15million (£12.7m) for the player, a figure that won’t cause an issue for Villa.
Doucoure is highly regarded in France and would likely compete with Douglas Luiz for the starting spot, if he does sign.
Villa are flush with cash after Jack Grealish completed a £100m switch to Manchester City. However, Dean Smith is determined to spend that money wisely.
So far they have brought in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey, Danny Ings, Ashley Young and Axel Tuanzebe.
More are expected to follow as Villa look to improve on their 11th-placed finish from last season.
Norwich star told to make Villa switch
Meanwhile, Norwich star Todd Cantwell has ‘done his time’ at Carrow Road and should join Aston Villa this summer, according to pundit Kevin Campbell.
Aston Villa are looking for creative reinforcements after allowing talisman Jack Grealish to join Manchester City. The Premier League champions spent £100m to secure his services, making Grealish the most expensive British player of all time.
Cantwell and Buendia formed a great partnership over the last three seasons. And the Englishman could now follow him to Villa Park.
Former Arsenal striker Campbell thinks it’s time for the playmaker to ‘step up’. “Cantwell is a really good young player,” he told Football Insider.
“I don’t think he’s a direct Grealish replacement, they don’t quite play in the same position. I think Leon Bailey will take that left side role in the attack.
“He’s done his time at Norwich, now it’s time for him to step up. He’s got his mate there at Villa, hasn’t he? Emi Buendia is there obviously.
“To me, it seems like Villa are trying to replace Grealish with three or four players rather than one.”