Alex McLeish confirmed on Tuesday Aston Villa are edging closer to completing the capture of Charles N'Zogbia from Wigan and hopes his arrival can help compensate for the loss of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.
The deal, thought to be in the region of £9.5m, will be completed once N'Zogbia undergoes a medical and McLeish is delighted to land a player he tried in vain to sign last season when Birmingham City manager. The 25-year-old Frenchman will help fill the hole left by the sales of England duo Young and Downing to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively.
"The deal hasn't been fully done yet, he still has to complete a medical. I believe everything else is just about there," said McLeish during an Asia Trophy press conference in Hong Kong. I think it's a great addition to the squad. He's an explosive player and he gives us a little bit of quality to replace one or two of the guys that have left the club."
He added: "We try to do as much homework as possible to ensure we can get it done. You can never say it's a 100 % done deal, that's why I remain cautious, but I'm pretty confident.
"You saw his exploits last season, especially towards the end of the campaign when he scored five or six goals which were extremely important for Wigan to stay in the league.
"I felt we needed to replace Downing with similar quality, he's broken into the French national team, I believe we've got a player who can become even better."
Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov was equally enthusiastic about N'Zogbia's impending arrival.
"He's an exceptional talent, he would be an amazing signing for us," he said. "He's improved so much in the last couple of years and we'll be glad to have him in our team because he can bring something special.
"He's a very explosive player, he likes to take people on and when you have a player like that, you take a lot of pressure off the team.
"Every time he's faced us, he's torn us apart, he'll be an exciting signing."