By Will Butcher

Aston Villa are ready to spend £3million to bring Southampton forward Sam Gallagher to Villa Park, according to a report.

The Sun’s transfer expert Alan Nixon claimed in Sunday’s paper (page 63) that the 21-year-old forward is admired by Villa boss Steve Bruce, after a stunning season on loan with Blackburn.

Despite Owen Coyle’s side sitting in the bottom three of the Championship, Gallagher has still found the back of the net 11 times this season as well as adding four assists.

It it believed that Villa are either willing to take him on loan or pay for the Saints academy prospect, with Sunderland, Cardiff and Sheffield United also said to be keen.

The four-time England Under-20’s international is a threat in the air and from set-pieces, scoring against the likes of Villa, Brighton and Nottingham Forest this season.

It remains to be seen if Claude Puel’s side are willing to let the latest example of their renowned academy leave the club, as he continues to shine in England’s second tier.

However, Gallagher has just over a year remaining on his contract with the south coast club, and could be offloaded to avoid losing him on a free transfer in the summer of 2018.

Football Insider verdict:

Villa do not need another striker. Jonathan Kodjia has been in terrific form since joining the Midlands outfit from Bristol City, scoring 15 goals in a side that have struggled to find the back of the net. After signing Brentford’s Scott Hogan in January and the Scotsman finally off the mark after a battle against injury, Bruce has two proven Championship goalscorers at his disposal. With Gabby Agbonlahor, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Ross McCormack all still on the books at Villa Park, Bruce should look to spend his transfer budget on more pressing matters. However, Gallagher is only going to get better and would be a top signing if Villa can give him the game time and keep all three strikers happy.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, here is a betting update over the future of this £16million ace.

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