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Aston Villa and Middlesbrough want to take West Brom's James Chester

Sport | Published:

Aston Villa have approached Albion about a possible move for out-of-favour defender James Chester.

Middlesbrough are also in the hunt for the 27-year-old after a move for Hull City's Harry Maguire fell through.

The Baggies bought the Welsh international for £8million from Hull City last summer, making him the club's most expensive defender of all time.

But he endured a frustrating season under Tony Pulis, and played just one game in his preferred position of centre-back.

Albion's head coach tried to convert him to a full-back, but dropped the Manchester United academy product after a couple of poor performances in that role.

Villa need a defender after selling Ciaran Clark to Championship rivals Newcastle United for £5.1m when the Magpies triggered the Irish international's release clause.

Aitor Karanka is set to sign Birmingham City's Fabio da Silva, but he'd also like a centre-back to compete with Ben Gibson and Daniel Ayala.

Even though Chester isn't first choice under Pulis, Albion aren't keen to sell a versatile squad player unless they manage to buy another defender.

The club are looking to sign a left-back, but their interest in Leicester City's Jeffrey Schlupp and Leeds United's Charlie Taylor has been rebuffed by both clubs so far.

Albion are also interested in Norwich's Robbie Brady and Schalke's Sead Kolasinac. Up front, they have switched attention to Leonardo Ulloa of Leicester and Enner Valencia of West Ham after pulling the plug on Diafra Sakho's £16m club-record deal.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are reportedly weighing up a £15m bid for Jonny Evans. But the Baggies do not wish to sell the former Manchester United defender, who impressed at both centre-back and left-back last season.

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