By Harry Sykes
Steve Bruce has admitted he will hold imminent talks with Christopher Samba about joining Aston Villa.
The Villa boss said the experienced Premier League defender is keen to land a permanent deal with the Midlands giants.
Samba is currently training with the Championship club with a view to signing on a free transfer and linking up with the senior squad.
Bruce insisted that the centre-back, 32, is not on trial but is building up his fitness levels as he looks for a new club.
The promotion expert is open to negotiating a deal with Samba and is likely to make a decision either way in the next fortnight.
“Christopher Samba is not on trial, he is here getting some match practice and improving his physical levels,” said Bruce, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “We will see where that takes us.
“He is good to have around, he is a bit short physically, he knows that. If he gets himself up and running, we will see.
“I’ve got to sit down with him and his representative and see but there’s been nothing decided just yet. We’ll see what happens over the next two weeks or so.”
The defender began training with the Midlands giants last month in a bid to earn a contract having returned to England following spells in Russia and Greece.
Samba was named in the starting XI as an over-age player for Villa’s Under-23s in their Premier League 2 clash against Wolves at Molineux on Monday of last week.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) March 6, 2017
The Republic of Congo international is without a club after being released by Panathinaikos in January but he has considerable Premier League experience, with 171 matches in the competition, after spells at Blackburn and QPR during their top-flight days.
Samba made two appearances in the Greek top flight this season after joining from Dynamo Moscow in August but is now keen on a return to playing in England.
Villa are next in action on Saturday when they travel to relegation strugglers Wigan for a Championship fixture.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, a senior figure has joined the Midlands giants after completing a switch from Scotland.