By Wayne Veysey

16th Jul, 2016 | 11:43am

Report: Aston Villa in hot pursuit of 24-goal striker, Everton in pole position

By Tom Blackburn

Aston Villa remain in hot pursuit of FC Twente striker Sebastian Haller, according to a report.

Everton opened talks with the France Under-21 international last week as they bid to strengthen their squad ahead of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

The Liverpool Echo claims that Aston Villa remain interested in a deal for the 22-year-old, but they could face an uphill struggle to beat Premier League clubs to the chase.

The report claims that Everton are in pole position to sign the player but Villa, Norwich, Tottenham, Swansea and Sunderland are all keeping tabs on him.

The forward has scored 24 goals and provided six assists in 42 games in all competitions this season in the Eredivisie for F.C Utrecht.

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Villa are remaining busy in the transfer window following their relegation from the Premier Leauge.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo and owner Tony Xia have recently informed fans that signing a striker is their priority this summer.

Di Matteo has also said he wants to have a tight knit squad to bid for an instant return to the top flight.

Striker Jordan Ayew has attracted yet more attention from France, and Haller could be being viewed as a replacement.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, a senior figure has said he hopes a deal with Aston Villa will be done within a week.