Reports in Russia have suggested that Paul Lambert’s side came closest to signing the 25-year-old from Kuban Krasnodar in the summer, but failed to meet the club’s asking price.
According to Izvestia, Popov had agreed personal terms at the Midlands club, only for the move to fall at the final hurdle with Villa unable to match the asking price of £8.4million.
Kuban are reportedly still willing to do business in January, although Paul Lambert is aware he may now face competition from a host of Dutch clubs for the player’s signature.
PSV, Feyenoord and FC Twente are all thought to have entered the race for the highly rated Popov, although Lambert will be hopeful the lure of the Premier League is too strong to turn down.
The club were originally concerned the midfielder would be unwilling to give up European football at Kuban, but were encouraged by the response from the player during the summer, and have no reason to believe his stance has changed.
Lambert is already looking ahead to the January transfer window after a difficult start to the season for his much changed Villa side.
Since their superb opening day win over Arsenal at the Emirates, Villa have slipped to three straight defeats, away at Chelsea, and consecutive home defeats to Liverpool and Newcastle United.
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