By Noel Whelan

6th Jun, 2022 | 3:16pm

Aston Villa could now sign James Tarkowski alternative 'very quickly' after latest - pundit

Noel Whelan has backed Aston Villa to tie up a deal for Ben Mee “very quickly” as his Burnley contract comes to an end.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 32-year-old’s vast experience could help Steven Gerrard’s side deal with the demands of the Premier League.

According to the Daily Mirror (2 June), Aston Villa and Everton are leading the way in the race for Mee – who is reluctantly ready to quit Burnley after their relegation.

The two sides are also reportedly chasing his Clarets teammate, James Tarkowski, who is also out of contract at the end of this month.

Mee made 21 Premier League appearances during the 2021-22 season before suffering a hairline calfbone fracture in March 2022.

When asked if Mee could be a cheaper alternative to Tarkowski for Villa, Whelan told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “Yeah, I do.

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“He’s just as experienced, isn’t he?

“He’s been so strong over a number of years, and one of Sean Dyche’s consistent, go-to performers in that time.

“He is a leader in the dressing room too. These are the sorts of players you can’t overlook, especially when they’re coming out of contract.

“It’s kind of a no-brainer considering the demands of the Premier League and what he would bring.

“They’re very good at getting their transfers over the line very quickly and under the radar. I really admire that.”

Aston Villa have already secured four signings this summer.

The Midlands giants have signed Philippe Coutinho, Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos, and Robin Olsen thus far.

In other news, pundit suggests striker has suffered from falling out after Aston Villa source’s update.