By Harvey Byrne

Tony Xia has labelled speculation that Aston Villa could re-sign midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker as a mere “rumour”.

Reo-Coker, 32, has been without a club after his contract with MLS side Montreal Impact was terminated last January.

The Birmingham Mail reported that Villa were one of a number of clubs interested in signing Reo-Coker on a free transfer.

Villa owner Xia took to his personal Twitter account to give a single-word reply to the speculation.

The Chinese tycoon purchased the Championship club in June for £76 million and helped Roberto Di Matteo acquire nine new players during the summer transfer window.

Reo-Coker moved to Aston Villa in 2007 in a £7.5million deal from West Ham when Martin O’Neill was manager.

He featured in 123 encounters for the club in all competitions before leaving for Bolton for a free transfer in 2011.

Since leaving Villa Park, he has had spells at five different clubs, including Bolton, Ipswich and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

He has spent the last three-years in the MLS, but the former England Under-21 international could be looking for a return home.

Aston Villa already had Ashley Westwood and Gary Gardner in the centre of their midfield and they have also brought in Aaron Tshibola and Mile Jedinak this summer.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Villa are monitoring Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane.