By Will Butcher
Belgium international Ritchie De Laet is set to leave Premier League champions Leicester, with Aston Villa in pole position to sign the defender, according to a report.
The 27-year-old received a Premier League winners medal last year despite being on loan at Middlesbrough, after previously winning the title with Manchester United in 2009.
The Express and Star claimed on Tuesday that the versatile defender is surplus to requirements at the King Power and manager Roberto Di Matteo is keen to sign De Laet.
De Laet, who has had loan spells with Norwich, Preston and Sheffield United, still has two years remaining on his King Power deal but is expected to be moved on after failing to break into the Foxes’ first-team.
The former Manchester United man, who was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Stoke City back in 2009, can play in both full-back positions as well as centre-back.
De Laet, who began his career in Belgium with Royal Antwerp, made 10 league appearances during his loan spell at Middlesbrough as they gained promotion to the Premier League last season.
Former Chelsea manager Di Matteo has been busy this summer, spending around £12.5million on three players.
Reading’s Aaron Tshibola signed for £5million, while Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick joined for just over £3million. Another former Manchester United player, Pierluigi Gollini, joined from Serie A outfit Hellas Verona for £4.1million.
In the latest Villa transfer news, this Villains flop appears to have worked his way back into Di Matteo’s plans.