Report: Claude Puel wants to reunite with Aston Villa defender Jordan Amavi at Southampton

Birmingham's Demarai Gray in action with Aston Villa's Jordan Amavi

The 54-year-old Frenchman, who is expected to be named Southampton's new boss in the coming days, managed Amavi for three seasons at Nice.

Aston Villa's Jordan Amavi

Aston Villa left-back Jordan Amavi could link up with his former Nice manager Claude Puel at Southampton this summer, according to French outlet Nice-Matin.

Puel, who is expected to be appointed as Southampton’s new boss before the end of the week [h/t The Guardian], managed Nice for four seasons until resigning last month after guiding the club to a fourth-place finish in Ligue 1, securing Europa League football for 2016-17.

The former Lyon coach handed Amavi his first-team debut during his four-year reign at the Allianz Riviera and helped develop him into one of the top prospects in French football before he was sold to Villa last summer for a reported £10 million fee.

The pair are still said to share an excellent relationship and could now be set to reunite at St Mary’s once Puel’s appointment is made official in the coming days.

Picture Supplied by Action Images

Amavi, 22, featured 12 times for Villa over the first few months of last season following his move from Nice, standing out as one of the club’s few bright spots amid their dismal run of results.

As well as racking up three assists, the attack-minded defender recorded a team-leading 36 tackles, 37 interceptions, 57 crosses and 40 dribbles in 10 Premier League appearances, while also winning 92 duels and completing 79 percent of his passes.

Sadly, though, the newly anointed fan favourite’s campaign was cut cruelly short in November when he ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee during a France Under-21 match against Northern Ireland, ruling him out of action for the next nine months.

He is currently on track to be fit for the start of the new season after stepping up his recovery towards the end of last term, but whether he will still be with Villa at that point now remains to be seen.

L’Equipe recently reported that Liverpool, AC Milan and Lyon have all enquired about signing the ailing Frenchman since the Midlands side’s relegation, while the likes of Nice and Monaco are also said to be keen to bring him back to Ligue 1 [h/t Foot01].

The Toulon native is believed to favour an immediate move back to the Premier League, however, and Nice-Matin suggests that Puel would be interested in making him one of his first signings as Southampton manager.

The Saints do already have former Villa loanee Ryan Bertrand filling the left-back spot, as well as the promising Matt Targett waiting in the wings, but a £34 million windfall from the sale of Sadio Mane to Liverpool means the new boss will not be short on funds.

Slovakia's Robert Mak in action with England's Ryan Bertrand

Amavi, for his part, has been quiet about his future so far this summer, but he did stress last month that he did not regret his decision to join the claret and blues.

“I adapted and I fitted in well, it’s just a shame that my season was cut short but I do not regret my decision to come here,” he told France Football. “I followed the matches on television... But there is nothing you can do, you are powerless, you see that it is tough but you cannot help them.

“Certain people thought that I had hopes of getting into the French team, but for me first I wanted to go to England to play in the English League.

“My time will come to play in the French national team. For now, I want to concentrate on playing a full season.”

Aston Villa's Jordan Amavi in action with Manchester United's Ander Herrera

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