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Villa linked with move for £15m man Charlie Austin

Sport | Published:

Villa have been linked with a move for Charlie Austin – though it is Newcastle United who currently head the race for the £15million-rated QPR striker.

The 26-year-old, who scored 18 goals last season, is being chased by a host of Premier League suitors with Villa – whose coffers are about to be boosted by the £32.5million sale of Christian Benteke to Liverpool – reportedly the latest to express an interest.

But it is Newcastle, who completed the £13million signing of Aleksander Mitrovic from Anderlecht yesterday, who remain favourites.

Austin has been linked with an exit from Loftus Road all summer but to this point only Leicester have submitted a formal offer of £7m, which was rejected, with several clubs put off by the transfer fee.

Boss Tim Sherwood has meanwhile removed one summer-long question mark by confirming Brad Guzan will begin the season as Villa's No.1.

The 30-year-old keeper had been linked with a move away from Villa Park after losing his place to Shay Given late last season.

Given, who was on £50,000 per week, has since moved to Stoke City to free up funds.

Sherwood said: "Brad was always going to be the No.1.

"It's a long season.

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"Shay had an opportunity to go elsewhere and Guzan's got age on his side over Shay who can't go on forever.

"He had the opportunity to get a two-year deal and it gave us the opportunity to release a little bit of money for us to use in other areas."

Jed Steer will be No.2, with new recruit from Norwich Mark Bunn stepping in if the former departs on loan.

"Jed knows if he's playing well, he will get the chance to play," said Sherwood. "He will only move on loan to the right club if he's going to play. We will make sure there's a recall in it."

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