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Aston Villa are looking into the possibility of bringing former winger Stewart Downing back to the club after being made available for loan by Middlesbrough, according to the Birmingham Mail.

Earlier this month, whilst negotiating Rudy Gustede’s transfer to Aitor Karankas side, the Championship outfit enquired about the possibility of re-signing the former England international.

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At the time, their efforts were rebuffed but it is believed that the Premier League side’s stance has since changed and are willing to let the 32-year-old leave on a temporary deal.

Villa manager Steve Bruce, who took over the club in October, is aiming to win promotion back to the top-flight but currently finds his side seven points adrift of the play-off positions.

The former Hull City boss is looking to bring in quality, experienced players to aid his promotion bid and has identified Downing as one of his main transfer targets.

Despite making 19 appearances under Karanka this season, the former Liverpool winger has failed to nail down a regular starting berth, featuring mainly from the substitute bench.

Having joined the Midlands club back in 2009, Downing played 63 times for Villa during the following two campaigns, before moving to Anfield in a big-money move in 2011.

Villa are also thought to be readying a £4 million bid for Barnsley defender James Bree, after injuries to Micah Richards and Ritchie De Laet left Bruce with a depleted back-line.

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has been the only January arrival so far, having joined on loan from Manchester United for the remainder of the season.

The 23-year-old made his Villa debut during Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, a defeat which saw them eliminated from the FA Cup at the third round stage.