Barnsley defender James Bree joins Aston Villa for "substantial fee"

James Bree in action against Leeds United
James Bree in action against Leeds United
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Barnsley have confirmed the sale of defender James Bree to Championship rivals Aston Villa for a "substantial fee".

The 19-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half year contract at Villa Park.

The deal is likely to be part of a double swoop by Villa boss Steve Bruce with Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane also close to signing terms at the Midlands outfit.

Villa are currently five places and five points below eighth-placed Barnsley in their first season in the Championship.

Bree emerged from the Barnsley academy and made his debut for the Reds as a 16-year-old against Queens Park Rangers in 2014.

He made 61 first team appearances at Oakwell and caught the attention of a number of Premier League clubs with a number of impressive performance.

Bree said: "I’ve been at Barnsley since I was young and it’s helped me develop. I will always be grateful."

Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom is understood to be keen to sign Leicester City’s Matty James as a temporary replacement in his squad.

James is available for loan following a year out after rupturing his cruciate knee ligament.