Reports in France claim Unai Emery remains keen on a reunion with the 23-year-old, who he previously worked with at Arsenal, though Villa are yet to make a bid and Marseille will be reluctant to sell this month.
A striker is also on the head coach’s wishlist following the sale last week of Danny Ings to West Ham.
Club bosses were delighted with the £15million deal but will only reinvest the money this month if they can land one of their primary targets. If that is not possible, Villa are likely to enter the loan market in order to provide competition and cover for Ollie Watkins.
The latter got the only goal as Villa won 1-0 at Southampton on Saturday to continue their excellent run under Emery and move within three points of the top seven. Their early exit from the FA Cup means they are not back in action until the visit of Leicester on Saturday week and the boss is hopeful of having skipper John McGinn and Lucas Digne back from injury.
Outgoings are also expected with midfielder Marvelous Nakamba omitted from the squad at the weekend as he seeks a move elsewhere.
“I spoke with him and the idea is to leave and to take minutes in another team,” said Emery. “He has to try and get back to his performance that he did here last year and two years ago.
“Now he doesn’t have space in the squad and he knows he isn’t going to play. Other players could leave as well.
“If we can make have space to add some players and improve the squad, taking the balance in the squad, we are going to do it.”