Liverpool will fight Aston Villa for the signature of Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott, according to the Metro. The 30-year-old England international has found himself on the fringe of Roberto Mancini's first team this season, following the summer arrival of youngster Matija Nastasic and with the 2014 FIFA World Cup coming up fast, the ex-Everton defender would probably favour a move for first team football.

Joleon Lescott

Brendan Rodgers' side need to find an experienced central defender to replace the retiring Jamie Carragher. Meanwhile, Villa need an older and wiser head in their back four, to help stop leaking goals and mentor their younger players. Of course, any move to Villa Park is likely to depend on whether Paul Lambert can keep the club in the Premier League.

In addition, late last year Everton were reported to be open to the idea of Lescott returning to Goodison Park.

Mancini is understood to be open to the idea of Lescott leaving; the Mail reports the Italian will ask for only £4m in return, a fee that is well within the financial reach of both Liverpool and Villa. And as for Lescott himself, it is believed the defender is more than open to the idea of a pay cut to help facilitate a transfer.

The defender's present contract pays him £90,000 per week and the agreement expires in 2014. And he is willing to offer pay a portion of his own potential transfer fee as well, to push through any move.

Lescott has made only 18 starts for the club, in all competitions, so far this season. Most of these were because of an injury to captain Vincent Kompany. In fact, Ivorian centre back Kolo Toure has been preferred to the Englishman, when fit and available, on occasion. He remains a part of Roy Hodgson's England plans for now but that will be increasingly harder to do without regular club football, particularly after Chelsea's Gary Cahill returns from injury.

Scott Sinclair on His Way Out

Meanwhile, Lescott's City team mate, Scott Sinclair, has also been linked with a summer exit. The 24-year-old winger signed on deadline day in the summer, after the English champions paid Swansea City £6.5m. However, he has failed to establish himself as even a squad player, leading City to actively promote him to other clubs. reports Everton are interested in signing the youngster.