By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Aston Villa are targeting a £10million summer swoop for Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford, according to a report.
The Mirror claim the 22-year-old is on the forward shortlist of new Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo as he steps up his team’s rebuilding job.
Villa want a new striker to lead the line and are compiling a list of players with a proven track record in the second tier who could also operate at the top level if the club achieve instant promotion.
It is said that former Chelsea manager Di Matteo can use his Stamford Bridge connections to help him land the promising young attacker.
Bamford, who has two years remaining on the Chelsea contract he signed last years, is rated at over £10million by his club.
But he has yet to make his senior bow for the west Londoners and has endured a frustrating season in which he barely figured during loan spells at Crystal Palace and Norwich.
Nevertheless, Bamford has a fine track record in the Championship and showed that he can score goals in the division.
The England Under-21 international scored 19 goals in 44 matches for Middlesbrough in 2014-15 and eight goals in 23 appearances for Derby on loan.
In another loan spell for MK Dons in League One, he was even more prolific, striking 21 times in 41 games.
In other Aston Villa news, the club are braced for a bid for an £11million bid for one of their flop signings of last summer.