Premier League newcomers Aston Villa have started negotiations with Ligue 1 outfit Reims for defender Bjorn Engels, it has been claimed.
Engels had a superb season in the French top flight in the previous campaign, and French website L’Equipe have claimed that the Villans are keen on signing him this summer.
Villa have been busy this summer, and recently agreed a £15 million deal to sign Manchester City’s under-23 midfielder Douglas Luiz.
Engels’ contract with Reims runs until 2023, and as per the BBC, Villa could get the player for a fee of £7 million.
Bjorn Engels: Profile
A product of the Club Brugge academy, Engels eventually went on to represent their senior side.
In the summer of 2017, he moved to Greek outfit Olympiacos, but was shipped out on loan to Reims in the subsequent summer transfer window.
Reims had an option to buy him permanently, and they triggered the same in March earlier this year.
The central defender managed 33 appearances in the French top-flight, and mustered 5.4 clearances per game on an average. He also bagged a goal and an assist.
Although he is yet to represent the Belgian national side, he has featured for the youth teams at various levels, and is a pretty experienced player.
What will Engels add to Aston Villa?
Engels is a calm and composed player at the back, and he makes good use of his 6’4” frame to dominate opposition players in aerial duels. Offensively, he’s a threat thanks to his aggressiveness, so he will be a handful in set-piece situations
The Premier League is known for its aggressive nature, and Engels is someone who will enjoy the challenges there.
Engels’ positional sense is also impressive for his age, and he can be slowly integrated into the team.
Aston Villa have their summer recruits Hause, Konsa, and Mings on their books, while captain James Chester is set to remain at Villa Park.
Smith could have five options for the central defensive role if Engels signs. The 24-year-old will only improve the squad further, and for the price being mentioned, he would be a pretty shrewd addition.