Midlands latest: Aston Villa target Arsenal flop, Begovic set to stay at Stoke

Nicklas Bendter

We bring you the latest news from Aston Villa, Leicester City, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers

1) Aston Villa want Nicklas Bendtner

Aston Villa are hoping to sign former Arsenal misfit Nicklas Bendtner as Paul Lambert looks to add to his squad for the upcoming season.

Bendtner’s contract at the Emirates expired at the end of last season, and Lambert feels that he would be a value transfer on a free.

A move to Villa would provide Bendtner with a fresh chance to prove himself in English football after being the subject of much derision at Arsenal.

The Danish international scored 24 times in 106 appearances at the Emirates Stadium.

2) Leicester target French starlet

Leicester City are set to do battle with Lens for the signature of Andy Delort, who is currently playing Ligue 2 football with Tours.

Delort scored 22 times last season and has, therefore, attracted interest from clubs of a higher standing, but neither of the interested duo are prepared to match the €5 million asking price that Tours have put in their prized asset.

3) Peter Coates says he wants to keep Asmir Begovic forever

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates says that he wants to keep Asmir Begovic at the Britannia Stadium forever.

The Bosnian has been linked with a move away from the Potteries to one of Europe’s elite clubs for some time now, but Coates has revealed that he is hoping that Begovic will be a Stoke player for a considerable time yet.

The Bosnian international has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest stoppers in recent years and has even reportedly caught the eye of Real Madrid this summer, but he now looks set to stay in Stoke.

“He's very much our player and nothing has happened recently to change that because we haven't had any inquiries for him," Coates said.

"My own preference is that he stays. He can stay forever as far as I'm concerned."

"He's clearly a top-class goalkeeper, but also a very good sportsman and a lovely man."

"I also think he himself is very settled here and genuinely enjoys being at this football club."

4) Chris Baird happy to be a utility man at West Brom

West Bromwich Albion’s latest recruit, Chris Baird, says that he will play anywhere the team need him to in the upcoming season.

Baird joined Baggies this week on a free transfer after seeing his deal at Fulham expire and he is perfectly happy to use his versatility to his advantage rather than set out a defined position.

“I don’t mind where I play. I’m here to help out where I can - whether it’s right back, left back, centre-half, central midfield,” he said.

“We will see what happens. It’s up to the manager where he plays me.”

5) Bakary Sako set to shine for Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers wide-man Bakary Sako has been tipped to be a revelation in the Championship by his manager, Kenny Jackett.

Many were surprised that Sako stayed at Wolves last season due to their relegation to League One, but he now appears to be in it for the long-haul, although Jackett doesn’t expect the speculation about his future to die down.

“He is a player who gets linked in the press and we understand that,’’ Jackett said.

“Sako is here, he is a good player who is settled at the club and I think he will play well for us this season.”

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