It has been reported in the The Birmingham Mail that Villa are interested in signing Middlesborough midfielder Adam Clayton.

Villa will face competition to gain the midfielders signature with Leeds, Cardiff and Forest all reportedly interested in bringing the midfielder in to achieve their pre-season goals.

Forest may have the upper hand in the competition to sign the midfielder, with his former boss Aitor Karanka recently being appointed manger after the dismissal of Mark Warburton. It is reported that the Spaniard would like a reunion with Clayton who was an important piece in the Middlesborough side that achieved promotion during his reign.

Leeds may also be able to sway Clayton as he spent two seasons on loan at Elland Road and manager Thomas Christiansen may use this to his advantage. However, the bookies have tipped Cardiff as the favourites to sign Clayton as Neil Warnock looks to bolster his promotion chasing Bluebirds.

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Clayton had been somewhat exiled at Middlesborough during Gary Monk’s brief spell as manager this season but the appointment of Tony Pulis as the new Boro boss could see him brought back into the first team frame. Villa are said to be monitoring this situation but may need to sell a player to free up the funds if they are to make a move to sign Clayton permanently due to Financial Fair Play regulations.

Villa already have a vast amount of players in Clayton’s position – the likes of Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury, Birkir Bjarnason and Spurs loanee Josh Onomah. Clayton’s addition to this Villa side would most likely see the departure of at least one of these players and if not, significantly reduced game time for Villa’s current midfielders.

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However, Clayton’s addition to the squad would provide more promotion experience to help Villa achieve their goals of regaining their place in the Premier League. With Villa also rumoured to be looking at a possible loan move for versatile Leicester City midfielder Daniel Amartey, it looks like Bruce is keen to bring in some midfield reinforcements.