Aston Villa and Stoke City are battling it out to sign Luton Town defender James Justin by Thursday night, Football Insider understands.
Justin is regarded as one of the best young defenders in the Football League after impressing at Luton over the last few seasons.
The likes of Brighton and Nottingham Forest have tried to sign him, but Luton have managed to keep hold of Justin up to now.
Villa manager Dean Smith is keen to strengthen his full-back options this month as regular right-back Alan Hutton has been forced to play at left-back for a number of games this season and they see Justin as someone with the potential to make the step-up to the Championship.
Luton will be reluctant to lose Justin as they look to maintain their push for promotion from League One this season, but a well-placed source has told Football Insider they are bracing themselves for offers for talented 20-year-old before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
New Stoke boss Nathan Jones is a huge admirer of Justin having worked with him during his time in charge of Luton and he would love to be reunited with him.
Villa are on the lookout for defensive reinforcements having conceded 46 goals already this season and they have made a new right-back one of their top priorities.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club have made a move to sign a Sheffield Wednesday ace as talks over a deal have begun.