STEVE BRUCE has flown in French centre-half Harold Moukoudi for transfer talks.
Bruce has lined up a deadline deal for the Le Havre defender as he clears the way for veteran Tommy Elphick to join QPR.
Moukoudi has been chased by Middlesbrough but Villa beat there promotion rivals by bringing him in from Le Havre by private jet.
The defender pulled out of a French League Cup tie to head for England and sort out terms ahead of the late switch.
Ephick will be allowed to join Steve McClaren’s club in a full-time deal once Bruce knows he has secured his replacement.
Villa will pay a loan fee and have to agree to a permanent transfer for the £10million-rated Moukoudi. They would rather pay less.
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Moukoudi would take Villa to their full allotment of five loan signings that they can name in a matchday squad.
And that would end any chance of bringing in Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham.
On Saturday Villa clinched a season-long deal to bring in winger Yannick Bolasie from Everton.
Bruce brought in Dutch international winger Anwar El Ghazi from Lille three days earlier.
Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe and Atletico Madrid keeper Andre Moreira are their other loan signings from earlier in the window.
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