By Amir Mir

Aston Villa are close to agreeing a loan deal for Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford, according to a reliable journalist.

Bleacher Report transfer expert Dean Jones has stated on his personal Twitter account that manager Roberto Di Matteo is eyeing up the 22-year-old Premier League forward.

“I’m told Aston Villa are close to agreeing a loan deal for Patrick Bamford.” Jones wrote on his personal Twitter account.

Bamford, who has two years remaining on the Chelsea contract he signed last year, is rated highly by his club but is behind senior strikers Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi in the Stamford Bridge pecking order as well as emerging star Bertrand Traore.

He has yet to make his senior bow for the west Londoners and endured a frustrating 2015-16 season in which he barely figured during loan spells at Crystal Palace and Norwich.

Nevertheless, Bamford, who was also targeted by Newcastle 12 months ago, has a fine track record in the Championship and showed that he can score goals in the division.

The England Under-21 international scored 19 goals in 44 matches for Middlesbrough in 2014-15 and eight goals in 23 appearances for Derby on loan.

In another loan spell for MK Dons in League One, he was even more prolific, striking 21 times in 41 games.

Villa already have four senior front men in Jordan Ayew, Rudy Gestede, Gabby Agbonlahor and the club’s £12 million summer signing Ross McCormack.

Di Matteo has lost his first two matches as Villa manager and has led to the Italian calling for fresh new faces at the club.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club’s longest serving player drops a hint about his future at the club.