Liverpool face competition from Aston Villa in the race to sign defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila.

The French international midfielder is thought to be on the Liverpool radar after the arrival of Damien Comolli as Director of Football strategy at Anfield, but Villains boss Gerard Houllier is also a known admirer of the player.

The former Reds boss has vast connections in France, and could rob the Merseyside outfit of a potential January signing, according to The People.

M'Vila joined Rennes as a teenager in 2004, and made his debut for the top-flight French club five years later. He'd earn his first French cap in August this year, and has made five appearances for Les Bleus thus far.

Valued at around £9 million, Hodgson is thought to have been impressed with reports on the player, and the Liverpool boss got a first-hand look at the player in the recent England v France friendly at Wembley.

A string of clubs across Europe are thought to be interested in the player, but the Premier League rivals are favourites to land the emerging talent.

Liverpool have been promised a transfer war chest by new owners NESV, and Hodgson is desperate to strengthen his squad at the first opportunity in 2011.

The former Fulham boss is thought to have shortlisted 'five or six' players as potential transfer targets at Anfield, and M'Vila is reportedly one of the players on the Liverpool wish list.

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