Aston Villa’s arch-rivals Birmingham City are reportedly leading the race to sign centre-back Tommy Elphick, according to the Birmingham Mail.

There is also reported interest from Leeds United as well as relegated Premier League side Sunderland. But it appears that Blues’ boss Harry Redknapp, who has been eyeing the defender for a while, is now in pole position.

Elphick, previously of top-flight side AFC Bournemouth, has fallen out of favour under Villa boss Steve Bruce, despite having begun the 2016/17 campaign as skipper under Roberto Di Matteo.

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Birmingham are keen to make Elphick their fourth summer signing, following the arrivals of goalkeeper David Stockdale, defender Marc Roberts and midfielder  Cheikh N’Doye at St Andrew’s.

Steve Bruce is reportedly eyeing a deal for former QPR defender Chris Samba, in which he will use the money freed up by Elphick’s departure. The Congolese centre-back has been training with Aston Villa, and has impressed Bruce and the Villa squad.

Tommy Elphick made 26 appearances for Villa last season, and has two years left on his current deal.

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