According to a claim in the Italian media, Aston Villa sent a scout to the game between Verona and Bologna on Monday evening.

The purpose of the Championship side’s trip to Italy was to get a lowdown on Bologna defender Filip Helander, who’s also been linked with a move to Leeds United in recent months.

TMW have reported Aston Villa are tracking Helander, and subsequently he could be a possibility for Steve Bruce’s side. Aston Villa will have been impressed by the Sweden international as he was one of Bologna’s standout players in his side’s 3-2 victory over Verona.

Aston Villa should expect to face competition from fellow Championship side Leeds United after they were continually linked with the player in the last window.

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In the summer we covered reports from Italy that Leeds United were considering partnering him with Pontus Jansson, and that a move would cost around €6m. Those claims stuttered on into the new season, suggesting any Leeds interest wasn’t restricted to one window.

It would again be another statement of intent from Leeds United or Aston Villa to sign Helander in January, and he would be good addition to either squad. However, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of motivation for Helander to leave Bologna, unless he’s concerned over playing time for the rest of the season.

A summer transfer looks a likelier prospect.