By Wayne Veysey

13th Jan, 2020 | 10:28am

Exclusive: Middlesbrough set sights on signing Aston Villa player amid contract opening

Middlesbrough have set their sights on signing Aston Villa defender James Chester in this month’s transfer window, Football Insider understands.

Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate is in the market for defensive reinforcements and the 30-year-old figures highly on his wanted list.

A source at the Championship club has told Football Insider that the club are keeping close tabs on Chester amid major doubts over his Villa future.

The centre-back is out of contract at Villa this summer and, with no deal yet agreed, his suitors have been alerted.

The former Manchester United and West Brom centre-back has made only two first-team appearances this season for Dean Smith’s side.

He has endured a tough time with injuries in the last 12 months and made his first Villa appearance since last January in the Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Liverpool before Christmas.

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Chester has been mainly restricted to a substitute’s role since his return to fitness and he was on the bench for Sunday’s 6-1 hammering at the hands of Manchester City.

He could be interested in a move away this month in search of regular first-team football as he looks to break back into the Wales squad for this summer’s Euro 2020 finals.


It remains to be seen if Villa would consider letting Chester move on with the club lying third from bottom in the Premier League.

They are embroiled in a relegation battle in the second half of the season.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that the club have submitted a bid for a striker who is making up his mind today.