Report: Aston Villa and Newcastle trailing in race to sign Charlie Austin

St Marys Southampton

The Queens Park Rangers striker could be on his way out of Loftus Road in January.

Aston Villa and Newcastle United have an uphill battle on their hands if they wish to lure Charlie Austin away from Loftus Road during the January transfer window, after the London Evening Standard reported that Southampton are now favourites to land the Queens Park Rangers forward.

With the striker's contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Hoops are willing to let their talisman leave the club next month, providing they receive an offer of £8m (via the Evening Standard).

While Villa and Newcastle may well decide that they are willing to make such an offer, especially if it looks even more likely that they are destined for the drop, the Evening Standard report that Austin does not wish to make a switch to a team fighting to avoid relegation. 

That would make a move to St Mary's seem the most likely. Ronald Koeman's men are ten points clear of the bottom three, meaning that they would probably have to go on an awful run for them to even be dragged into the relegation picture.

Despite their decent position in the Premier League table however, scoring goals has definitely been a concern for Koeman. Apart from Graziano Pelle - who has six goals to his name this season - their next top goalscorers have just three strikes each. 

And with Jay Rodriguez still struggling with injury (via Evening Standard), it seems imperative that the Saints sign a new striker if they wish to be in contention for a place in Europe once again.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch