By Harry Sykes

Marseille have stepped up their pursuit of Aston Villa defender Jordan Amavi, according to a report.

The print edition of L’Equipe on Thursday claimed that Marseille director of football Andoni Zubizarreta has recently held two rounds of talks with representatives of the Villa left-back.

It is said that the priority of the newly-rich French big hitters in the January transfer window is a new left-back, with first choice Hendri Bedimo out injured.

Marseille have been strongly linked in recent months with a move for Amavi, who moved to Villa in the summer of 2015 from Nice for a fee of £8million.

The 22-year-old made an excellent early impression in the Premier League before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in November of last year that sidelined him until this season.

Amavi has reclaimed the left-back spot since Steve Bruce was appointed Villa manager and has responded with a string of impressive displays.

The Frenchman has publicly poured cold water on the possibility of a move to Marseille but the reported fresh interest will prompt concern among Villa fans that the popular defender could leave.

“For now, I’m at Aston Villa , they rely on me,” Amavi said in an interview with French publication So Foot. “I will do my best to make up. Later, we will see later. I do not think I’ll go to Marseille, I’m at Aston Villa and I do not think about leaving.”

Amavi has started 10 of Villa’s 21 Championship matches this season, and has been a substitute on five other occasions.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club will make a £10million bid for a £50,000-a-week international ace.