Aston Villa are reportedly closing in on signing French right-back Frederic Guilbert from Caen in a deal worth £4.4million.
The Express & Star has reported that Guilbert, 24, is set to join the West Midlands club on a permanent deal, but he will be loaned back to Caen until the end of the season, which could be a masterstroke of a move by Dean Smith.
Villa already have plenty of right-backs with Alan Hutton, Ahmed Elmohamady and James Bree already on the books at Villa Park, so there is no point in signing Guilbert for the second-half of the season.
However Hutton, 34, is out of contract at the end of the season and will need replacing, while Elmohamady, 31, will be entering the final year of his deal with the Villains.
It is a smart piece of forward thinking by Smith, who surely sees that Guilbert is someone who can be a mainstay for his side next season.
The former Bordeaux defender has made 21 appearances in all competitions for Caen this season, featuring in all positions across the back-four.
Up until the end of the season, it is definitely best for Guilbert to stay put in Ligue 1 rather than moving to Villa Park and adding another player to a position that is already well-stocked.
That was the player’s development does not stall and he could return to Villa fighting ready for another push for promotion in 2019/20.