Aston Villa transfer news: Lambert targets Barcelona starlet in loan deal

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is ramping up his search for new signings with just a week to go until the transfer window slams shut.

Villa may look comfortable in 10th place, but as they sit just six points away from the relegation zone, Lambert needs new blood throughout the team in order to guarantee their survival, and subsequently, has been linked with a defender, a midfielder and a striker today.

Firstly, Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott is being linked with a return to the Midlands as Villa line up a loan deal for the England international. Lescott made his name with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but has been frozen out at the Etihad Stadium in recent times, prompting manager Manuel Pellegrini to admit that they could let the 31-year-old leave the club if they find a suitable replacement.

West Ham and Fulham are also interested in signing Lescott, whose contract at City expires in the summer, but Villa will be hoping that a move back to the Midlands is more appealing to the centre half than a move down to London is, particularly with Lescott allegedly growing up as an Aston Villa fan.

Whilst that deal is in the pipeline, one player Villa are closing in on is Barcelona striker Jean-Marie Dongou. The young Cameroonian has inevitably drawn comparisons to Samuel Eto'o, and is highly rated in the Catalan capital. His exploits for the Barcelona B team have now drawn interest from Villa, who are targeting a six-month loan deal for the striker as they seek support for Christian Benteke.

Having seen how Gerard Deulofeu has developed in the Premier League, Barcelona are believed to be willing to let Dongou leave until the end of the season, and this could be Villa's gain. With pace and power, Dongou is a threat to any defence and could benefit Villa in the end of season run-in.

But whilst progress is being made with Dongou, Villa's pursuit of Wes Hoolahan rumbles on after Norwich City rejected the Irishman's transfer request. Hoolahan was a key player during Paul Lambert's tenure as Norwich manager, and wants the 31-year-old to move to Villa Park and help his team achieve survival. But with palpable tension between the two clubs after Lambert left Carrow Road for a move to Villa in 2012, the Canaries are refusing to do business despite Hoolahan's wishes to leave the club.

image: © mollyig

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch