- Premier League
Makoun set for Villa medical as deal nears
Aston Villa are closing in on the signing of Jean Makoun, with manager Gerard Houllier expecting the midfielder to undergo a medical in "the next day or so".
A deal has already been struck with Lyon for the player, with the fee reported to be an initial £5 million rising to £6.5 million.
Houllier flew to France to hold talks with the 27-year-old and is satisfied that a deal is on the verge of being concluded.
"We have had some very positive talks with the club [Lyon], with the player and his representative," said Houllier. "I hope to be able to say more soon but for the moment nothing is signed. It is going on positively and he [Makoun] should have a medical in the next day or so."
The Cameroon international, who will not be available for Sunday's derby at Birmingham should he complete his move before the weekend, would be a timely addition to Houllier's depleted squad.
"He can play as a holding midfielder or go box to box and it is an area where we don't have a lot of experience," Houllier said.
"The two that are playing at the moment, [Nigel] Reo-Coker and [Stiliyan] Petrov, we saw what happened when the two were injured at the same time. It is an area where we need more players and we are trying to sign quality players. When he was at Lille, I tried to sign him [for Lyon] and they signed him just after I left."
Meanwhile, Villa boss Houllier laughed off speculation that he is preparing an ambitious swoop for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
He said: "I don't think Benzema will come to Villa. Jose [Mourinho] said he is missing strikers so how can he get rid of one of the only ones he has available at the moment? I think he is trying to sign a new striker. I didn't even dare to get in touch with Jose because I know the situation he is in at the moment!''
Houllier remains interested in signing Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam after having bids of £2.5 million and £3.5 million rejected.
He said: "We did things the right way. We went to the club and said we were interested in the player. But there has not been any official reply except what I read from Ian [Holloway]. Everyone is entitled to say what they want.
"Will we be back in for him? It is difficult to say at the moment. He knows we want him, probably. But he has got a contract with his club so I can't say more about that.''