Sheffield United: Southampton look to spark 'bidding war' for rumoured Blades target
Southampton are believed to be looking to capitalise on increasing interest in their striker Charlie Austin, with a host of sides said to be keen on landing the former Queens Park Rangers man this summer.
After struggling for form with the Saints in recent times, largely due to a series of injury problems, Southampton look likely to sell the 29-year-old before the new season.
Given his proven ability as a ruthless goalscorer in the past, however, the south coast side will be looking for a fair price.
According to the Southern Daily Echo, Aston Villa and Sheffield United are both interested in acquiring the ex-Burnley talisman, and Southampton are said to be hopeful of a bidding war taking place between the two Premier League sides.
The bookies still make the Blades favourites to land Austin, while Aston Villa are a close second. Other potential destinations include United's arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and recently relegated big spenders Fulham.
Southampton have already splashed out £14 million on winger Moussa Djenepo, and are also understood to be moving close to signing Birmingham City sensation Che Adams for a fee estimated to be in the region of £15 million.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will be eager to recoup some funds to top up his summer transfer budget, and given that he confirmed he was willing to sell Austin last January, the player’s departure seems highly likely.
Swansea City striker Oliver McBurnie is still understood to be United boss Chris Wilder's number one striking target, but, given that the Blades boss favours a formation with a dual strike force, a move for Austin certainly wouldn't be out of the question.