By Amir Mir

Aston Villa are reportedly set to make a bid for Championship star Ross McCormack as new owner Tony Xia reveals a striker is their priority.

The Birmingham Mail claim that new manager Roberto Di Matteo has sanctioned a formal move for the highly-rated Championship striker.

It is said Villa are keen to beat their rivals to the signing of the free-scoring McCormack, who scored 21 goals in the recently concluded Championship season.

The Craven Cottage attacker has a £15million release clause after extending his contract in January until 2020, but Villa are expected to bid imminently at below that figure.

It has been reported that Fulham may be willing to cash in on the Scottish international for a price lower than his release clause, even though £2.5million was added to the clause when he signed the contract extension.

After a lacklustre performance in front of goal in the recently concluded season, where the Midlands club only netted on 27 occasions, Di Matteo is on the lookout for a new striker.

It is also reported in the Birmingham Mail that owner Tony Xia has made the forward position his priority ahead of the new Championship campaign.

After Jordan Ayew finished top scorer with seven league goals, Xia revealed that the club is on the lookout for a new striker, but he will not pressurise Di Matteo in the transfer market.

“A strong striker is a first priority for us,” Xia revealed to the Birmingham Mail.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the manager. He is the one who has the ability to get things done.”

Villa have already made a move in the transfer market with the signing of Bournemouth captain and defender Tommy Elphick as reported by Football Insider.

A move for 29-year-old McCormack would mean Villa getting a striker who scored on 21 occasions in the recently concluded Championship season.

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