West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa will battle it out for the signing of Leicester City winger Jeffrey Schlupp, according to a report in The Guardian.

The 24-year-old has found game-time hard to come by this season and Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri is willing to let the Ghana international leave the club, for the right price.

Having made just six appearances in all competitions so far, this season, Schlupp was unexpectedly left out of the Black Stars’ squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to kick-off on Saturday.

Crystal Palace, now under former England international manager Sam Allardyce, are also determined to sign the German-born player.

The London outfit saw their opening bid of £9.5 million rejected by the reigning Premier League champions earlier this week.

However, they are expected to increase their offer to £12 million, a fee which both West Brom and Villa are prepared to match.

Baggies’ boss Tony Pulis was thought to be close to bringing Schlupp to the Hawthorns Stadium back in the summer but saw both bids of £9m and £12m rejected by Leicester.

Albion have had an impressive campaign up to now and sit in eighth place in the standings, just one point adrift of the European places.

They have yet to make any January signings but are reportedly keen on Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini, whilst misfit Saido Berahino has been the subject of a formal transfer bid from Stoke City.

Villa meanwhile, have signed Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan until the end of the season, as they seek promotion back to the top-flight.

They have been linked with moves for a number of players, however, including Nottingham Forest’s Henri Lansbury and Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing.


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