Aston Villa target swoop on Midlands rivals, identify possible Vlaar replacement

Reports are linking Aston Villa with a January move to sign West Bromwich Albion centre back Jonas Olsson.

Aston Villa's season so far has been a strange one. Paul Lambert guided the Villains to three wins from the first four games of the season, including a 1-0 victory away at Liverpool.

That great start saw Lambert rewarded with a new contract, but ever since then, it's been downhill for a Villa side who just can't find the back of the net.

Six defeats in a row at the hands of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton, QPR and Tottenham have actually piled the pressure on Lambert - despite his extended deal.

A 0-0 draw at West Ham has helped the atmosphere somewhat, but with just five goals in 11 games this season, Villa are the lowest scorers in the Premier League.

Still, the focus remains on the defence, with Dutch defender Ron Vlaar the subject of transfer speculation in recent weeks.

The former Feyenoord star is out of contract at the end of this season, and it's believed that Arsenal and Manchester United want to snap up the Netherlands World Cup star for a knockdown price in January.

Villa are growing increasingly concerned that the 29-year-old will leave the club, and Lambert may have to look for a new centre back in the January transfer window.

According to the Daily Mirror, he's looking fairly close to home for a solution, as West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson could make the move to Villa Park.

The Swede, 31, has been a key figure for West Brom over the last few years, but has slipped down the pecking order this season, with new manager Alan Irvine preferring to use Craig Dawson and Joleon Lescott in the heart of his defence.

The giant centre back doesn't possess much pace, but could be a decent stopper in place of Vlaar, should the Dutchman leave in January.

Olsson will no doubt want first team football at this stage of the season, but whether the Baggies are willing to sell him to a local rival is another matter.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch