Exclusive - Aston Villa are working on a deal to sign French midfielder Steven Nzonzi, who is currently on loan with Galatasaray from Roma.
The 31-year-old has fallen out of favour at the Turkish side, and having not played since early December he has been told that he can find a new club before the end of the January transfer window.
A source has told 90min that Villa have been tracking Nzonzi for a while and even spoke to the Frenchman earlier in the window. They initially chose to pursue a loan deal for Chelsea's Danny Drinkwater, but it seems they are still eager to bring Nzonzi in as well.
They are not the only Premier League side to have expressed an interest in Nzonzi, but Villa remain in front in the race for his signature, and they are working hard to try to finalise the terms of a possible return to England for Nzonzi.
He first moved to the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 2009, before joining Stoke City three years later, and he managed 195 appearances in the Premier League before jetting off for Sevilla in 2015.
That kind of experience could be crucial for Dean Smith's Villa, who find themselves 18th in the league table and facing a relegation dogfight in the remainder of the campaign.
Long-term injuries have ravaged Villa's squad this season; midfielder John McGinn, goalkeeper Tom Heaton and striker Wesley have all been sidelined, forcing Smith to work tirelessly to bolster his squad this winter.
Alongside Drinkwater, they have also brought in Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta from Genk, while goalkeeper Pepe Reina has also arrived to try to help the side cope with the loss of Heaton.
The hope is that Nzonzi could be the next man through the door at Villa Park, and there is an optimism that he will be able to help them steer clear of an immediate return to the Championship.
Villa are just one point from safety, and Smith believes that experienced additions like Nzonzi could prove to be the difference.
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Source : 90min