Houllier working on deals for Makoun, Adam
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Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier is stepping up his bid to sign midfielder Jean Makoun from his former club Lyon in a £6million deal.

Houllier is flying out to France to speak to Lyon about the prospects of capturing the Cameroon international and he has no doubts that the 27-year-old would enhance Villa's squad.

Houllier said: "Makoun could be a good asset for us because he is experienced, he has played in the Champions League with Lille and Lyon.

He is exactly what we need at times. He can play as a holding player or as a box-to-box midfielder.
Gerard Houllier on Jean Makoun

"He is exactly what we need at times. He can play as a holding player or as a box-to-box midfielder. We are working on [the deal]. All I can say at the moment is that there is dialogue going on."

Houllier also remains interested in signing Blackpool captain Charlie Adam after making an improved £3.5million bid. Villa's first offer of around £2.5million was rejected with Birmingham City also interested in acquiring Adam. Houllier said: "It is true that he [Adam] is a player that we like. His passing is very good."

The former Liverpool manager is also keen to bring in a new striker during January. But he believes John Carew - a target for West Bromwich Albion - will remain for at least the immediate future.

He said: "If the opportunity is there [to sign a striker], then yes, but you don't find them easily. It depends on what is going to happen but I think John will stay for the moment."

Villa will be without the suspended Emile Heskey and Ashley Young for Sunday's derby at Birmingham.