Midlands latest: Villa star linked with Southampton; Forest stopper confirms he'll stay

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

1) Vlaar targeted as Lovren replacement

Ronald Koeman has identified Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar as the perfect replacement for Dejan Lovren.

Lovren completed a switch to Liverpool last night and it is thought that Southampton have wasted no time in searching for additions who can replace the Croatian centre-back.

Top of their list is Vlaar, after the Dutch defender had a wonderful World Cup and the heart of Holland’s defence.

The 29-year-old has just one year left on his deal at Villa Park and could be available for around £5 million this summer, according to reports.

2) Stoke still want Oussama Assaidi

Mark Hughes has confirmed that Stoke City are still hopeful that they can do a deal to bring Liverpool winger, Oussama Assaidi, to the club this summer.

Reports had emerged that Assaidi’s wage demands were set to be a stumbling block in the move, but Hughes has rubbished those claims – saying that talks are still ongoing to sign the exciting wideman.

He said: "It's on-going and these things happen. Everybody knows we are interested and that is still the case."

Assaidi spent last season on loan at the Britannia Stadium and did enough to convince Hughes to attempt to make his transfer a permanent one, but if the deal doesn’t go through he could opt to move for Norwich City’s Nathan Redmond instead.

3) Alan Irvine wants another striker

West Bromwich Albion may have already broken their transfer record on a striker this summer, but Alan Irvine is still hoping to bring another goalscorer to the club during the transfer window.

The Baggies spent £10million on Nigerian centre-forward Brown Ideye, but are not finished spending on striking recruits just yet, Irvine has revealed.

“We’ve got Brown in now so that gives us three recognised strikers at the right level, and it would be lovely to have another one, but of course strikers cost a lot of money,” he said.

“We have a budget to work to and rightly so, and it’s a case of trying to stretch that as well as we possibly can.

“I would love us to be able to get in another striker because you want to have options of how you can play up front

4) Wolves want Danny Gabbidon

According to reports, Wolverhampton Wanderers could be set to do battle with Sheffield Wednesday for the signature of Danny Gabbidon.

The experienced centre-back is available for transfer this summer, after Crystal Palace released him at the end of last season and he could be of interest to the Championship duo.

5) Karl Darlow to stay with Nottingham Forest

Karl Darlow has confirmed he has set to stay at Nottingham Forest for the upcoming season, despite rumours linking him with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.

Darlow is considered one of the finest young ‘keepers in England and, as such, has been the subject of interest from some of the country’s biggest clubs, but he is happy to stay at the City Ground.

"It is a compliment, isn't it, being linked with Premier League clubs," he said. "But nothing has happened and I still have three years left on my contract here.

"I am very happy with the club and I am very happy playing. When I am playing is when I am at my happiest.

"When you come out and play every weekend, you cannot beat that."

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