By Will Butcher
Scotland international Steven Fletcher could become Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing as Aston Villa manager, according to a report.
The 29-year-old was released by Sunderland after manager Sam Allardyce found him surplus to requirements, with Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini ahead of him in the pecking order.
The Express & Star claim Di Matteo, who was appointed as manager last month, wants to use Fletcher’s proven Premier League quality as he looks to return the Midlands club to the top flight in his first attempt.
Fletcher spent the second half of last season on-loan at French giants Marseille, where he scored three goals in a second striker role behind Tottenham target Michy Batshuayi.
However, Fletcher is said to be keen on a move back to England and Di Matteo is keen to make the striker, who has 28 Scotland caps, his first signing at Villa Park.
The former Wolves striker cost Sunderland £12 million four years ago, and scored 11 goals in his first season at the Stadium of Light. However, Fletcher’s last three years with the Black Cats have been severely interrupted by injury, scoring only 12 Premier League goals during this time.
However, Di Matteo believes that he would be the perfect fit at Villa Park, as he looks to revitalise his new side, and wants to create competition with the likes of Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew.
The Italian manager faces stiff competition from Premier League new-boys Hull City as well as Brendan Rodgers’ new side Celtic.
In other Aston Villa news, Monaco are looking to spend big on the club’s young full-back.