By Wayne Veysey

8th Jan, 2017 | 8:22pm

Confirmed: Aston Villa in battle to sign midfield goal expert

By Harry Sykes

Steve Bruce has revealed that Aston Villa are in a five-horse race to sign midfield goal expert Henri Lansbury from Nottingham Forest.

The Mirror reported on Saturday that Villa are closing in on the signing of Lansbury and that his teammates at the City Ground are convinced the deal is done for him to complete a transfer to the Midlands giants.

It has also been reported that Derby and Birmingham have made moves to sign the creative midfielder this month.

Bruce went public with his interest in Lansbury for the first time on Sunday, in the immediate wake of Villa’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Tottenham.

“I’ve been linked with about 40 players and he’s one of them,” said the Villa manager of Lansbury, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “We’ve made an enquiry but so have two, three or four other clubs.

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“We all know he’s running out of contract but it’s not wise of me to talk too much about other players.

“He’s been a very good player in the Championship over a few years now.”

Forest are vulnerable to losing Lansbury because his contract expires in the summer, when he could quit the club on a Bosman free.

It is inevitable that he will leave in the January window, as it represents the east Midlands club’s final chance of securing a transfer fee for the Arsenal academy graduate.

The 26-year-old has been Forest’s outstanding player this season, scoring six goals and supplying three assists in 17 league appearances.

The playmaker has been sorely missed during the club’s last six matches in which he has been unavailable due to a hamstring problem and they have accumulated just a single point.

Lansbury is well recognised for his goalscoring talents, netting 33 goals in 150 Forest appearances, a superb strike rate for a midfielder, as well as supplying 20 assists.

Villa are hopeful of a late run to score promotion back to the top flight and are currently 12th in the Championship table, seven points adrift of sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

Football Insider verdict:

Little wonder Championship clubs are falling over themselves to prise Lansbury from Forest this month. He scores, he creates and he is a proven performer in the second tier. Lansbury’s stats speak as eloquently as the performances which have made so many Championship clubs eager to take advantage of his Forest contract status. Lansbury would be an excellent signing for Villa, who are chronically lacking someone to put their foot on the ball and orchestrate the play. He has the creativity and speed of thought to make the most of the movement of Jonathan Kodjia, Albert Adomah and company, while also being able to find the net regularly himself. It is a no-brainer for Villa to push this deal through.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club remain a January option for an England international.