Aston Villa have placed defender Jake Cooper at the top of their summer transfer wishlist, according to Football Insider.

Despite being in a relegation battle in the Premier League, Dean Smith is already looking into recruitment options for the Villains ahead of next season.

High up his list of wanted players is Millwall centre-back Cooper, as Villa feel the 25-year-old will bring much needed improvements to the squad defensively.

Even if they are able to beat the drop, Smith is keen to bring the Championship defender to Villa Park after impressing in the second-tier.

Cooper has made over 100 appearances for Millwall, with the Villa transfer target featuring 37 times this campaign.

The defender also has a goal to his name this season, scoring in a 2-1 win away to Bristol City back in December.

Cooper started out his career with Reading before a successful loan spell with Millwall saw him pen a permanent deal at The Den back in 2017, with his performances of late impressing Aston Villa.

With 11 fixtures remaining in the Premier League season, the Villains are sat just one point above the relegation zone having won just one of their last five league games.

Villa do have some rest-bite from the league at the weekend, as they have the chance to pick up silverware in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley.

Manchester City stand in their way though, and despite the welcome distraction Smith will be more concerned about his side securing their top flight status.

Villa were promoted through the play-offs last season and will not want to return to the Championship so soon after climbing out of the second-tier.

The club are already looking at improvements for the next campaign should they stay in the top flight, and Cooper seems to be high on their list of transfer targets.

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