Rumour mill: Norwich City move into pole position to snare Lorient’s Lamine Kone; Aston Villa rivals for Steven Naismith

Norwich manager Alex Neil is being touted with a January move for Lorient defender Lamine Kone. Pict

Norwich manager Alex Neil is being touted with a January move for Lorient defender Lamine Kone. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City will try to steal a march on Premier League rivals with a £5m move for Lorient's imposing central defender Lamine Kone.

Alex Neil was touted with a swoop for the 27-year-old defender earlier this week, but the Sun on Sunday claim City are now poised to step up their interest with Swansea City, Aston Villa and Sunderland all monitoring Kone.

The tabloid claims City wants talks with Lorient to discuss a potential January deal for the Ivory Coast international. City missed out on signing a centre back in the summer window and Neil has made it clear he aims to do business next month to provide competition for Seb Bassong, Ryan Bennett and Russell Martin.

Meanwhile, City's relegation rivals Aston Villa, who visit Carrow Road on December 28, are weighing up a move for Everton's Steven Naismith. Remi Garde has been given the go ahead to try and boost Villa's hopes of beating the drop following transatlantic talks with owner Randy Lerner earlier this week.

The Telegraph report Villa are prepared to launch a £6.5m move for the Toffees' midfielder, who was the subject of an £8m enquiry by Norwich in the closing hours of the summer transfer window.

Naismith went on record recently stating he wants to sort out his club future, ahead of planned New Year talks with Roberto Martinez after falling down the pecking order at Goodison Park, and Neil remains a confirmed admirer of his compatriot.