Villa close to Berson signing

Last updated at 16:41 05 August 2004

Aston Villa are set to complete the signing of French midfielder Mathieu Berson in a £1.5million move from Nantes.

The 24-year-old is due to fly into Birmingham later today to undergo a medical and sign a four-year deal.

The Canaries have admitted defeat in their bid to retain the services of Berson who is expcted to play a part in Villa's final pre-season friendly in Holland against AZ Alkmaar on Saturday.

It will be Villa manager David O'Leary's fourth summer arrival after buying Martin Laursen and taking Vaclav Drobny and Carlton Cole on loan.

But O'Leary is still hoping to bring in a new striker to provide competition for Cole, Darius Vassell and Juan Pablo Angel.

The former Leeds manager's number target had been Milan Baros, who scored five goals for the Czech Republic in Euro 2004, although the player looks set to remain at Anfield for the start of the new campaign.

Berson, a former French Under-21 international, has been tracked by O'Leary all summer but now he finally looks to have brought him to Villa Park.

Full-back Jlloyd Samuel suffered a slight hamstring injury in Tuesday's friendly at Derby but is set to play in the friendly in Holland.