Are Aston Villa lining up Ligue 1 ace Stephane Bahoken for free transfer this summer?

Steve Bruce, Manager of Aston Villa during the The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Peterborough United at Villa Park on January 6, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Championship giants Aston Villa have made a shock move to sign Strasbourg's Stephane Bahoken on loan for the rest of the season.

Villa boss Steve Bruce reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park on February 20, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It seemed like Aston Villa were going to put all of their efforts into signing Leonardo Ulloa from Leicester City this month.

The Telegraph stated that the Argentine was Steve Bruce’s top target, yet a deal was easier said than done with Financial Fair Play restrictions meaning Villa could only sign the striker if Leicester were willing to let him leave on loan.

So far, however, it is uncertain whether the 31-year-old will be allowed to leave. So it makes sense that Aston Villa have a few alternative targets up their sleeve.

And one of those appears to be Strasbourg’s Stephane Bahoken. Who, you ask?

Strasbourg's French forward Stephane Bahoken celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Strasbourg (RCSA) and Rennes (SRFC) on November 18, 2017 at the...

Well, Bahoken has been on quite the journey with Strasbourg since joining one of France’s most vociferously supported clubs in 2014. The Alsace-based side were in the third tier at the time but now, just three-and-a-half years on, are a top tier club.

And Bahoken heralded their return to Ligue 1 by netting a stunning winner in December’s 2-1 home win against none other than Paris Saint-Germain, bringing a stunning end to Les Parisiens’ unbeaten domestic record in 2017/18.

In total, that superb near post finish against the champions-elect was only the 25-year-old’s third Ligue 1 goal of the season. But it must be pointed out that they have come in just six starts, a record that perhaps explains Villa’s sudden, and unexpected, interest.

Strasbourg's French forward Stephane Bahoken (C) celebrates with Strasbourg's French defender Ernest Seka (R) after scoring a goal  during the French L1 football match between Strasbourg (...

But according to Sport.Sfr, Villa are only interested in signing Bahoken on loan until the end of the season. And, considering that he has just six months left on his Strasbourg contract, you wonder how on earth this move would benefit the Ligue 1 side, who are set to lose the striker on a free anyway.

Although if somehow Villa are able to strike a deal, there is the prospect of signing Bahoken on a permanent basis if he continues that impressive goals-to-starts ratio in England.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch