Aston Villa are close to signing Lyon and Cameroon midfielder Jean Makoun in a £6.5million deal.
Villa manager Gerard Houllier flew to France to hold talks with his former club on Wednesday over Makoun. The signs are positive that Cameroon international Makoun is on the verge of becoming Houllier's first major signing since taking charge at Villa.
Makoun, who is predominantly a defensive midfielder but can also play further forward has eight goals in 76 league appearances for Lyon but it remains to be seen whether the 27-year-old would receive international clearance in time to feature in Sunday's West Midlands derby at Birmingham.
Makoun also has 54 international caps to his name and has been earmarked by Houllier as a major asset if he were to join Villa.
He said: "Makoun could be a good asset for us because he is experienced, has played in the Champions League with Lille and Lyon.
"He is exactly what we need at times. He can play as a holding player or as a box-to-box midfielder."
Lyon issued a statement which said: “Olympique Lyonnais confirms that it has begun talks with English club Aston Villa for the transfer of Cameroon international Jean Makoun.
“President Jean-Michel Aulas has met Gerard Houllier in Paris. The progress of such discussions remain subject to the agreement of the player.”
Villa have lost three of their last four games in the Barclays Premier League and will be looking to add to their defense in the January transfer window with Stephen Warnock and Curtis Davies linked with moves elsewhere.