EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

West Brom have made an approach to sign Aston Villa midfielder Gary Gardner, Football Insider sources understands.

Gardner is back at Villa after an impressive spell on loan at Barnsley last season, where he captained the side on several occasions.

Gardner’s form during his time at Barnsley has not gone unnoticed among other clubs and a well placed source has told Football Insider that West Brom, QPR and Bolton have now made enquiries about signing the player on loan or on a permanent basis.

The Baggies are working on a permanent deal for the midfield anchorman, the source said.

The interested trio are looking to strengthen their squads before the close of the transfer window and they both see Gardner as someone who can add quality to their sides.

The 26-year-old has featured for Villa in pre-season, but they could be open to offers for the midfielder if he is not going to be a regular in Steve Bruce’s side.

Former England Under-21 international Gardner made 30 appearances in all competitions for Barnsley during his spell at Oakwell and despite playing in a holding midfield role he still chipped in with two goals and two assists for the Tykes.

In other West Brom news, Football Insider reveals the real reason why transfer collapsed after we exclusively reported the plug had been pulled.