EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke
Aston Villa are lining a move for Championship top scorer Leon Clarke from Sheffield United as they look to sign a new striker, Football Insider sources understand.
Villa boss Steve Bruce is in the market for a new striker when the transfer window reopens in January after losing last season’s top goalscorer Jonathan Kodjia to a long-term injury.
A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Championship Golden Boot frontrunner Clarke is top of Villa’s shortlist as they prepare to table a bid for a new frontman.
Clarke has been in red-hot form for United this season with 13 goals in 16 appearances, including a stunning nine-goal haul in his last four games.
The 32-year-old is the Championship top scorer and he has been instrumental in United’s push for promotion so far this season.
Bruce feels Clarke could be a valuable addition to his plans as he is short of striking options at Villa Park and that the experienced striker could grab the goals to fire his side back to the Premier League.
Clarke, who joined Sheffield United in the summer of 2016, helped the club win promotion from League One last term and he has gone to establish himself as a key man in Chris Wilder’s side.
The former Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday man is entering the final 18 months of his contract at Sheffield United and Villa could test their resolve to hang onto their top scorer in the New Year.
Sheffield United would be loath to lose Clarke as they look to maintain their own bid for promotion and they would not welcome interest from a potential promotion rival in the well-travelled forward.
Kodjia could miss the rest of the season as he prepares to underdog surgery on an ankle injury he picked up on international duty with Ivory Coast.
The 28-year-old was sidelined for five months after suffering a fractured the ankle against Blackburn last April restricting him to just eight appearances this season before suffering his latest ankle problem.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, multiple approaches have been made for this in-form Villa attacker who is keen on a deal.