A familiar name has emerged in recent transfer gossip, with Aston Villa once again finding themselves connected to Charlton Athletic midfielder Dale Stephens. The 23-year-old has been something of a constant for the Addicks since arriving from Oldham in 2011 having made 45 first-team appearances since making the move to the London side. So far this season, Stephens has scored once and notched four assists in 19 appearances for a Charlton side currently residing in a comfortable mid-table position in the Championship.
As was the case when Villa was originally linked to Stephens, I'll abstain from offering to much in the way of editorial opinion. Seeing as how he's not likely to command much of a substantial fee or put much of a burden on the wage bill, should Paul Lambert identify him as a decent addition to the squad I'm inclined to trust him. This isn't the kind of big, splashy, problem-solving addition anyone is hoping for, but that doesn't make moves such as these poor decisions.
Of course, this could just as easily be recycled gossip from the summer window. There's not much doubt that Lambert had significant interest in Stephens back in August, but that's little guarantee that said interest is still there. And if it is, considering Stephen's importance to Charlton's efforts to stay in the league and his likely marginal contributions to Villa's similar ambition, it's entirely possible that this move won't progress until the summer. But this one is still out there, and it's likely worth keeping an eye on.