Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has hailed Joleon Lescott as "a top player" and refused to dismiss making an approach for the Manchester City and England defender.

Lescott, a life-long Villa supporter, is out of favour at the Etihad Stadium and has been strongly linked with a move away in the current transfer window. Lambert says he will be backed in the transfer market by owner Randy Lerner, although Lescott would almost certainly have to take a wage cut for a deal to go ahead.

"He has been a top player and still is," Lambert said of the 30-year-old former Wolves and Everton centre-back. "He's a top, top player. He's not getting a game at Manchester City at the minute. As I've said before, I will sit with the rest of the staff and see what I can do. But I don't think you can ever dismiss it any level whenever you are talking about a top player."

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