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Aston Villa eye Malmo defender Jansson

Paul Lambert has been checking on rising Sweden international Pontus Jansson as he looks to strengthen his defensive options.

Malmo defender Pontus Jansson is a target for Southampton and Aston Villa.
Malmo defender Pontus Jansson is a target for Southampton and Aston Villa.

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Aston Villa manager Lambert has a growing reputation for handing opportunities to young talent and Jansson is the latest under consideration ahead of the January transfer window.

Sources close to the player have confirmed to ESPN that Lambert has sent scouts to check on the 22-year-old, who has just won the Swedish title with Malmo.

Villa are the latest to scout the central defender, after Sven-Goran Eriksson's former assistant Tord Grip, recently told Swedish reporters he was assessing Jansson for Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Malmo were crowned champions earlier this month in what has been a breakthrough season for Jansson, who has been a virtual ever-present in the heart of defence.

Several German and Dutch clubs have been monitoring the progress of the former Sweden U21 captain and Malmo have already received official offers in the region of one million euros.

Jansson is out of contract in a little over a year's time and is unlikely to sign an extension, after intimating that he would like to challenge himself at a new club and Malmo are ready to sell in January.

He has won four full caps for the Sweden national team and could be part of coach Erik Hamsen’s World Cup plans for the 2014 World Cup, if they win their play-off tie against Portugal later this month.

Lambert is on the lookout for defensive reinforcements after losing Denmark international Jores Okore for the season with a ruptured cruciate ligament injury.

Okores only joined Villa in the summer from F.C. Nordsjælland, but suffered the injury in his third appearance for the club against Newcastle.

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