Aston Villa are in advanced talks to sign Reims centre-back Bjorn Engels, claims L’Equipe.
The newly promoted Premier League outfit have already made seven permanent signings this summer and two of those have been centre-backs.
Dean Smith have bolstered Villa’s English core with the permanent signings of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa, while they have also welcomed Frederic Guilbert from Caen after agreeing a deal for the versatile defender in January.
Villa confirmed Konsa’s arrival from Championship side Brentford on Thursday morning and the addition of the England Under-21 international appeared to end the club’s search for new defenders.
Smith’s side are unlikely to move for another young defender like Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe following Konsa’s arrival but it has now emerged they are surprisingly chasing Reims ace Engels.
The 24-year-old was one of the best defenders in Ligue 1 last season and Villa are deep in negotiations to sign the former Under-21 Belgium international.
Engels made 33 league starts for Reims last season and helped the French outfit put together one of the best defensive outfits in the division (42 goals conceded in 38 league matches).
The towering centre-back boasted an aerial duel success rate (66%) in Ligue 1 last season, accentuating a statistically WhoScored calculated strength of aerial duels.