Championship club Aston Villa are reportedly deemed frontrunners to sign Wales international Joe Ledley, who is out of contract following his release from Selhurst Park earlier in the month.

The Welshman enjoyed a three-year spell with the south London club in the Premier League, and he is now willing to drop down a division in order to prolong his professional career.

Ledley already has 73 caps with the Wales national side, and an extended stint with the Villains could enable him to return to the Premier League whilst earning regular first-team football under Steve Bruce. The Midlands outfit were lingering near the top ten positions at one stage but Mile Jedinak’s regular injury concerns left a huge void in the midfield which eventually ended Villains quest for promotion as early as February.

The Wales footballer is also attracting interest from former boss Tony Pulis, currently at West Bromwich Albion, who is looking to find a potential replacement for Darren Fletcher. The former Manchester United graduate made a surprise decision to join Stoke City this summer after he declined a probable one-year extension at the Hawthorns.

Promotion hopefuls Derby County also have an eye on the experienced campaigner as they look to end their curse of failing to make the playoffs despite being in the front foot in the early stages of the campaign. Villains boss Steve Bruce also has an eye on Stoke City’s Glenn Whelan for whom the club have already failed with an approach. The Midlands club are working on a minimum budget for the summer transfer window with Bruce urged to sell some of his first-team players in order to recoup funds for new recruits. Bargain deals remain the main criteria for the former Premier League regulars with former Chelsea hero John Terry deemed to have been offered a contract at Villa Park.