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Aston Villa set for only second January signing under Lambert

| 12.01.2015

Yacouba Sylla, the Aston Villa midfielder currently on loan at Turkish side Kayseri Erciyesspor, remains Paul Lambert’s only January signing since he took over at the Birmingham outfit two-and-a-half years ago, but owner Randy Lerner may finally be loosening the purse strings a little.

Villa are being heavily linked with an imminent move for Valencia midfielder Carles Gil, who is reportedly available from Los Che for around £3.25m.

Gil made his way through the youth ranks at the Mestalla before being farmed out on loan in the summer of 2012 to nearby Segunda Liga side Elche.

The 5ft7in dynamo scored three times in his first four matches under Los Franjiverdes’ new gaffer Fran Escriba, going on to feature in all but eight of Elche’s 40 fixtures en route to promotion back to the top tier for the first time since 1989.

Gil stayed on at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero last term, starting over three-quarters of his temporary employers’ La Liga matches as Elche defied expectations once again in avoiding relegation by a point.

The 22-year-old’s return to Valencia has proved predictably frustrating, with Argentina international Pablo Piatti and Algeria ace Sofiane Feghouli clearly ahead of Gil in the attacking-midfield/wing ranks.

Lambert will certainly be in a position to offer Gil more league starts than the couple he has been handed by Valencia boss Nuno so far this term, with the Midlanders’ squad seemingly threadbare and out of ideas, but Villa fans expecting a well of productivity should be cautioned.

He has only notched twice in 72 appearances since that early flurry for Elche two-and-a-half years ago, and can boast just three assists from 18 months’ work in La Liga.

However, Gil did lay on 40 chances for Elche teammates during 2013/14, of which just two were finished off, and already has an improved ratio of one goal from eight key passes for Valencia.

This suggests he could combine well with a proven goalscorer, which Villa hitman Christian Benteke just about still is, despite the Belgium international bagging just three in his last 15 Premier League appearances.

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Alex Fortune