Micah Richards urges Sherwood to sign Charlie Austin for Aston Villa

Micah Richards

Aston Villa should target Charlie Austin, according to defender Micah Richards.

Aston Villa defender Micah Richards has told the Daily Mirror that the club should look to sign Charlie Austin - if the club have to sell Christian Benteke this summer.

Richards, 27, signed for Villa on a free transfer earlier this summer having seen his Manchester City contract expire, and is expected to be a key player under manager Tim Sherwood next season.

Whilst Richards' arrival was something of a coup for Villa, Sherwood faces losing his biggest star this summer, with interest building in striker Benteke.

The Telegraph report that Benteke wants to leave Villa this summer, with Liverpool leading the race for the Belgian's signature having ended the season with 11 goals in nine games.

Should the 24-year-old leave this summer, Sherwood will need to bring in a new striker to carry the workload up front - and Richards has told the Daily Mirror that Villa should target QPR's Charlie Austin, who hit 18 goals for QPR last season.

"This is a big club - massively underachieving," said Richards. "Charlie Austin has scored a lot of goals, hasn’t he? I think we just need a goal-scorer if we were to get rid of Christian," he added.

Austin - ideal replacement for Benteke?

Benteke has smashed 49 goals in 100 games for Villa, dominating defences with his strength and aerial ability - and whilst Austin doesn't possess the same brute strength, he could be a good replacement.

Austin, 26, is a penalty box poacher, and does offer a great aerial threat in front of goal - and whilst QPR would no doubt demand a huge fee for the English man, he would likely come cheaper than whatever Villa sell Benteke for.

Of course, it all depends on whether Benteke does leave the club, but should Villa lose their star striker, Austin would be a superb successor - if they can fend off Newcastle, who are also chasing the forward according to the Daily Mail.

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