EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Alan Hutton is in advanced talks to join Wigan Athletic as he heads out of Aston Villa, Football Insider can reveal.

The newly-promoted Premier League club announced at the start of this month that he would be released when his contract expires at the end of June.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that the 34-year-old is closing in on a move to Wigan as he looks to quickly secure a new club and continue his career in the Championship.

The Latics are on the search for a proven defender and are keen on Hutton because of his experience, character and ability to slot in to both full-back positions.

Hutton won over the Villa fans following a sticky start to his time in the Midlands to become a firm favourite and respected figure on the terraces.

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Signed from Tottenham in the summer of 2011, the ex-Rangers star made 202 appearances for the Villa, mainly at right-back but he has also had lengthy spell on the left side of defence.

Wigan are impressed that the veteran made 34 appearances last season, including 33 league starts, and was a regular under Dean Smith until suffering a serious hamstring injury in February.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that the club have opened preliminary talks to sign a £17.5million player.