Aston Villa are expected to make a January move for Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan with Francesco di Frisco, an agent involved in the deal, telling Calciomercato the Frenchman is a man in demand.

Dean Smith deserves so much credit for instilling a sense of organisation at the heart of a Villa team that, pre-lockdown, was conceding goals at an alarming rate.

But, despite keeping clean sheets in three of their five Premier League games so far in 2020/21, Friday’s 3-0 obliteration at the hands of a rampant Leeds United shows the Midland giants aren’t the finished article yet.

How Liverpool can move forward after bitter Virgil Van Dijk blow

How Liverpool can move forward after bitter Virgil Van Dijk blow

Tyrone Mings was bullied by ‘Hatrick’ Bamford during a defeat that could have finished five or six nil.

And with Walfoot reporting Aston Villa are keen to sell Bjorn Engels in the new year, there may be room in Smith’s squad for a new defensive talent.

“There were many teams on Simakan – Lyon, Aston Villa and Borussia Dortmund,” says Di Frisco.

Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images

“I think these clubs, including AC Milan, will try to push again (in January). The boy has picked up where he left off, showing his qualities, and it is possible his admirers will also increase.

“Milan followed him for a long time and in the last few days of the transfer market we tried to close the deal, without success.

“The French club wanted something around £20 million, or an offer of at least £15 million plus bonuses, but it didn’t come.”

The Marseille-born 20-year-old, who can also play at right-back, has fewer than 30 senior league appearances under his belt.

So it speaks volumes about his potential that some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Milan and Dortmund, are already among his admirers.

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In other news, Leeds should now try to re-sign Lewis Cook, after recent £15m rumours