By Amir Mir

Leeds are lining up a move for Joleon Lescott after he was told he can leave Aston Villa on a free transfer, according to a report.

The Telegraph claim that Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo has told the former Premier League winner he can depart the club for nothing.

It is said Leeds are weighing up whether to offer Lescott, 33, a fresh start at Elland Road as they step up their pursuit of a new centre-back.

Intriguingly, the centre-back followed, then un-followed Leeds on Twitter on Wednesday night, which prompted speculation that he could switch to the Yorkshire giants.

Di Matteo personally met with Lescott, who was targeted by fans last season following a series of poor displays, and informed the player he can leave as the Italian looks the trim the club’s wage bill.

Lescott has a year remaining on the two-year contract that he signed when he made a £1.5 million switch to Villa Park last summer from rivals West Brom, but endured the worst season in his career.

The ex-Everton, Manchester City and Wolves defender was part of a team that conceded 76 goals and picked up 17 points, as they were relegated into the second-tier of English football.

Lescott did not help with matters when he posted a picture of a Porsche on his personal Twitter account after the 6-0 humiliating loss at home to Liverpool.

Villa supporters will be glad to hear the news as they await further departures of the club’s under-performers from last season.

Brad Guzan has already made a free transfer to Premier League side Middlesbrough.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, owner Tony Xia revealed the club are working on five major deals.