Cheick Doukoure can be Glenn Whelan's long-term successor at Aston Villa
Aston Villa are said to be close to signing Levante midfielder Cheick Doukoure.
According to the print edition of The Sunday Mirror via HITC Sport, Aston Villa are finalising a deal to land Doukoure in January.
It would initially be a loan move with a view to a permanent purchase if he impresses.
And Doukoure will have half a season to prove his worth to Dean Smith.
There is a vacancy as a long-term defensive midfield option at Aston Villa, with Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak coming towards the end of their respective careers.
Whelan has been used often by Smith since he took over at Villa Park but the Irishman turns 35 in January.
Doukoure will therefore be eyeing Whelan’s spot in the side, sitting just in front of the back four.
The 20-cap Ivory Coast international will have a point to prove after managing just five outings for Levante this season.
Doukoure is renowned for his tough-tackling approach in midfield and if he can adjust to English football, he could thrive at Aston Villa.
The 26-year-old has experience in France with Lorient and Metz and has spent a season-and-a-half with Levante in the Spanish La Liga.
His next career step looks likely to take him to England’s second tier and he has a chance to carve out a long and successful career at Aston Villa.