Michael Owen is being mentioned as Gerard Houllier's first signing for Aston Villa by the News of the World.

The report claims the ex-Liverpool boss was impressed with the striker's form and fitness after watching him play in Jamie Carragher's testiomonial match at Anfield.

Owen flourished under Houllier during his time at Liverpool, and was even named European Player of the Year in 2001 after firing the club to a historic treble winning season.

The former England international has had limited games since joining Manchester United and looks unlikely to be able to win an extension on his current contract which expires at the end of this season.

As a result, Villa might be able to sign Owen during the January transfer window either on loan or for a cut-price fee.