Aston Villa target QPR hitman ahead of new campaign

Aston Villa are eyeing up a move for QPR hitman Charlie Austin as they seek a replacement for Liverpool-bound striker Christian Benteke, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Villa boss Tim Sherwood is looking to take advantage of his close relationship with QPR director of football Les Ferdinand to pave the way for a £15 million deal for Austin, who has also been linked with Premier League sides Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.

Sherwood worked with Ferdinand during their time together at Tottenham Hotspur and has reportedly made it clear to his friend that Austin is high on his wishlist this summer.

The 25-year-old bagged 18 goals in 35 appearances for QPR in his first year in the Premier League last season, earning himself a call-up to the England squad.

However, it is understood that Austin does not want to be playing Championship football at QPR next season, which makes it highly likely that a move to a top-flight side is on the cards.