EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Aston Villa have beaten Middlesbrough in the big-money race for Bristol City defender Joe Bryan, Football Insider sources understands.

Villa and Middlesbrough both agreed £6million fees with Bristol City on Monday for the highly-rated left-back.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Bryan has opted to make the move to Villa ahead of Boro and that the move could now be tied up in the next 24 hours.

The source explained that the left-sided defender is in advanced talks with Villa and is expected to undergo a medical at Villa Park ahead of becoming the club’s third signing of the summer.

Bristol City are reluctant to lose Bryan, but with the player in the final year of his contract they decided to cash-in on the 24-year-old.

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Beating Middlesbrough to Bryan’s signature will come as a major boost to Villa boss Steve Bruce as he looks to strengthen his squad ahead of another push for promotion this season.

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider can reveal Steve Bruce’s side are on the verge of another huge transfer splash their will transform their team this season.