Fabian Delph’s potential £3 million departure from Villa Park this January could prompt the Claret and Blues to return to reported target Jay Spearing.
The Midlands club were previously linked with a move for the former Liverpool midfielder, who has shone for the Trotters in an otherwise difficult season that saw Dougie Freedman sacked by the club and replaced by former Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
Villa are facing something of a dilemma this month amid reports that Tottenham are preparing to make an offer for Delph, who is out of contract in the summer.
A fee of £3 million has been quoted by some sources, with the ex-Leeds academy star’s desire to play European football thought to be a key factor in his desire to move away.
That represents a major loss on the £8 million Villa paid the Yorkshire club for the 25-year-old back in August 2009 with Delph only hitting top form for the Midlands side in the past year.
However, with time running out the Claret and Blues must decide whether to cash in on the Englishman or risk losing him to a rival for nothing over the summer.
Delph’s departure could clear the way for Spearing to make a Premier League return, though Villa may yet face competition for the former Anfield star.
Southampton were also in the running to sign Spearing back in the summer, according to the rumour mill, and with Saints manager Ronald Koeman very much in the market for midfield reinforcements, a transfer tug-of-war could ensue.
Spearing, meanwhile, will be keen on earning a move back to the top flight with a switch to either Southampton or Aston Villa offering the defensive midfielder the opportunity to rebuild his Premier League career and perhaps even force his way into the Roy Hodgson’s plans for the England team.
The 26-year-old was with Liverpool for some 16 years and made 30 appearances for the Reds' first team before moving to Bolton on a permanent basis in 2013.
That move came after the midfielder completed a season-long loan deal with the club during a campaign that saw him named Bolton's Player of the Year.