Aston Villa have agreed a £5.5million deal for Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell.

The former Reading star only moved to Stamford Bridge last summer on a free transfer, but he was unable to force a regular place in Chelsea's first XI.

And after only seven Premier League starts for the Blues, Sidwell has now opted to move to Villa Park.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill is keen to bolster his small squad as he attempts to build a side capable of a top-six Premier League finish next season.

But, Sidwell, 25, could also be viewed as a possible replacement for Villa captain Gareth Barry, who is a transfer target of Liverpool.