Aston Villa move closer to £6.5m Jean Makoun deal

Aston Villa are close to completing the signing of Lyon midfielder Jean Makoun after manager Gerald Houllier held "positive talks" with his former club.

Villa have already agreed a deal believed to be worth an initial £5 million rising to £6.5 million.

Houllier flew to France to hold talks with the player he attempted unsuccessfully to sign from Lille when in charge of Lyon.

Now the ex-Liverpool boss is on the verge of signing the 27-year-old Makoun, who will have a deal in the next 24 hours.

But any transfer would not be concluded in time for Makoun to be involved in Sunday's derby at Birmingham.

Houllier said: "We have had some very positive talks with the club (Lyon), with the player and his representative.

"I hope to be able to say more soon but for the moment nothing is signed.

"But it is going on positively and he (Makoun) should have a medical in the next day or so.

"He can play as a holding midfielder or go box to box and it is an area where we don't have a lot of experience.

"The two that are playing at the moment, Reo-Coker and Petrov, we saw what happened when the two were injured at the same time.

"It is an area where we need more players and we are trying to sign quality players.

"When he was at Lille, I tried to sign him (for Lyon) and they signed him just after I left."

Houllier has ruled out any audacious attempt to sign Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who scored for France against England at Wembley in November.

He said: "I don't think Benzema will come to Villa. Jose (Mourinho) said he is missing strikers so how can he get rid of one of the only ones he has available at the moment?

"I think he is trying to sign a new striker. I didn't even dare to get in touch with Jose because I know the situation he is in at the moment!"

Houllier remains interested in signing Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam after having bids of £2.5 million and £3.5 million rejected.

He said: "We did things the right way. We went to the club and said we were interested in the player.

"But there has not been any official reply except what I read from Ian (Holloway). Everyone is entitled to say what they want.

"Will we be back in for him? It is difficult to say at the moment. He knows we want him, probably.

"But he has got a contract with his club so I can't say more about that."

One player Houllier has ruled out any interest in is Peterborough keeper Joe Lewis and he is bemused by comments from their director of football, Barry Fry.

He said: "I was in France yesterday. I read something about Joe Lewis and the only Joe Lewis, with no disrespect to the keeper, I knew was the boxer (Joe Louis).

"Unless someone makes a hoax, I can't see anyone from the club making a bid for Joe Lewis who is probably a very good keeper.

"Is Barry Fry talking rubbish? I can tell you that no-one at the club or I have put a bid in for him."

Houllier is aware of the importance of Villa climbing out of the bottom three as quickly as possible and gives them extra incentive to dispose of Blues.

He said: "It is another incentive to do well, first of all because it is a derby and for the fans it is very important.

"But also because we don't want to stay in the position we are.

"We know that. It is a challenge and we need to get out of this position as soon as possible."

Houllier is not looking to sign a striker this month and confirmed John Carew will play a part against Alex McLeish's side after an eight-game absence.

The Norwegian international has been improving his general fitness levels after an injury-hit start to the season.

His return is timely given that Emile Heskey is suspended.

He said: "I am not looking to sign a striker. Not at the moment. I'm quite happy with Emile and John Carew did extremely well this week in training.

"I think he will be involved at some stage in the game. Maybe he will start.

"I will see, but he looked fine. Now his fitness level is better."

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering