Peter O'Rourke of Sky Sports is reporting that Aston Villa have made a bid for 22-year-old Charlton Athletic midfielder Dale Stephens. As of yet this is the only source I've seen reporting this news, but the firm language and semi-respectable source would lead me to believe that there's at least something of substance here.
It's pretty tough to come by coverage of League One here in the US so I'm not personally familiar with Stephens, but a quick scan of scouting reports reveals that he's a very gifted passer with excellent vision and good skill on the ball. Another common theme seems to be that he's been shown to be a bit lightweight at times, and those that would like to see Villa add a bit more steel to the midfield will likely be cringing right about now.
From my perspective, I just don't have enough information to form a reasonable opinion. I'd love to see a destroyer-type in midfield, but it's entirely possible to survive without that kind of player. If Paul Lamber thinks Stephens can provide some creativity from deep in central midfield, I'm inclined towards cautious optimism. And of course there's nothing that says Villa can't sign more than one midfielder. No matter what your appraisal of the squad's needs, it's difficult to be disappointed about being connected to a player that would appear to be a pretty nice prospect.