By Wayne Veysey
Aston Villa have registered their interest in signing Southampton striker Charlie Austin, Football Insider understands.
Southampton are willing to cash in on the 29-year-old forward this summer as Ralph Hasenhuttl looks to shake up his squad at St Mary’s with a firesale of up to eight senior players.
A Villa source has told Football Insider that preliminary contact has been made by the club as they assess the viability of taking Austin to the Midlands.
There is also interest from newly-promoted Sheffield United in the forward, who has a year remaining on his Southampton contract.
Villa have already paid a club-record £22million fee for versatile forward Wesley Moraes but they are in the market for at least one more striker as they look to assemble an attack capable of scoring consistently in the Premier League.
Austin struggled for regular first-team football at Southampton following the arrival of Hasenhuttl as manager last December and they are willing to sell the former Queens Park Rangers man for the right price in this window.
He made 11 league starts among 27 appearances in all competitions for the Saints last season, scoring three times and supplying three assists.
The former Burnley, QPR and Swindon Town forward has scored prolifically at Premier League, Championship and League One level during his career and Villa regard him as someone who can be a matchwinner for them.
In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that the club are plotting a move to sign a Chelsea player available for FREE.