Aston Villa lead Championship race for Paris FC defender Samuel Yohou

Samuel Yohou pictured in action for Ivory Coast at the Toulon Tournament in 2011
Samuel Yohou pictured in action for Ivory Coast at the Toulon Tournament in 2011

Aston Villa lead a number of Sky Bet Championship clubs in the race to sign Paris FC defender Samuel Yohou.

Sporting Life understands that a trio of second-tier sides have expressed their interest in the 26-year-old, who is a free agent following the expiration of his contract.

Yohou was a regular presence for Paris during the second-half of the season, contributing one goal and a further assist in 22 league appearances.

His performances for Beziers in 2016/17 earned him a move to the capital, following their promotion from the French third division.

Back in August, Le Parisien stated that "In eighteen months, he (Yohou) has established himself as one of the best central defenders of the National at Epinal then Beziers."

That form has led to him gaining interest from teams in England, who are keen to bring him across the Channel this summer.

Fulham and Aston Villa players clash following Jack Grealish's tackle on Tom Cairney
Aston Villa were defeated by Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final

Beaten play-off finalists Aston Villa will reassess their approach to incomings this summer as financial uncertainty surrounds the club, and they are preparing for life without star man Jack Grealish who is expected to depart for the Premier League.

John Terry, a big earner after joining on a one-year deal last season, has left the club whilst Chris Samba hasn't been offered a new contract.

However, they are still active in the transfer market and Yohou is a target for the West Midlands club as they look to rebuild for the new campaign, alongside strengthening their defensive options.

Despite the World Cup, there have been moves already completed in the Championship with Nottingham Forest smashing their club record fee to sign Joao Carvalho from Benfica for £13.2m.

Diogo Goncalves also joined on-loan, whilst defender Michael Dawson has made the switch from Hull City.

Marcelo Bielsa - has been in negotiations with Leeds United for a number of weeks
Marcelo Bielsa has been appointed the new Leeds United head coach

Leeds United raised eyebrows with the remarkable appointment of Marcelo Bielsa as their new head coach, replacing Paul Heckingbottom who departed on June 1.

Bielsa has managed the Argentina and Chile national teams and has received glowing praise from the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino - who described him as a father figure and an innovator.

Stoke City find themselves as the 9/4 favourites with EFL title sponsors Sky Bet for promotion, and they have already added Wolves striker Benik Afobe and Oghenekaro Etebo to their ranks, with the latter featuring for Nigeria at the World Cup.


By Tom Carnduff

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