EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Middlesbrough are planning a move to try and hijack Aston Villa’s move for Bristol City defender Joe Bryan, Football Insider sources understands.

Aston Villa are in pole position to land Bryan after agreeing a fee of £6million with Bristol City over the weekend for the left-back.

However, a well-placed source has told Football Insider that Middlesbrough are keen on signing Bryan and are ready to rival Villa for his signature.

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis has money to spend before Thursday’s transfer deadline having sold Ben Gibson and Patrick Bamford in recent weeks and he is ready to enter the bidding for Bryan.

Bryan is regarded as one of the best defenders outside the Premier League after impressing for City during the last couple of seasons. He scored seven goals from 43 matches last season to prove his considerable value in the attacking third.

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.

Bryan’s future at City has been the subject of constant speculation all summer with a host of clubs credited with an interest in the attacking full-back, but it appears it is now down to a straight fight between Villa and Middlesbrough.

In other Aston Villa news, the club are in ADVANCED TALKS to sign a player from Premier League giants in the coming hours.