Over at the Birmingham Mail, Steve Wollaston has some quotes from Montpellier midfielder Younès Belhanda in which the 23-year-old Morocco international states that he would prefer to make a move to England and is aware of Aston Villa's interest. Belhanda stops short of saying that he would welcome a move to Birmingham, he does say some very complimentary things about the club and reinforces his belief that the Premier League is the world's best.
This is far from confirmation that Villa's the favored destination for the player, but it does make the signing seems slightly more plausible than it did a few days ago. I still think Belhanda is a bit out of Villa's league and that he could be issuing a "come-and-get-me" call to other, bigger English clubs, but I'd love to be wrong. And as our own Andrew points out, being able to offer the opportunity to play with Christian Benteke is a pretty decent advantage.
What's certain is that signing a player of Belhanda's caliber would not only offer a significant upgrade to Villa's midfield, it would also be a major statement in terms of the clubs intentions. If Paul Lambert can pull this off, this transfer window could be a whole lot more interesting than first expected.