Aston Villa are ready to raid Saints again and sign Jack Stephens, according to the Daily Mirror.

Villa bought local lad Matt Targett on Monday for £14m and are said to be interested in fellow academy graduate Stephens.

The newly promoted side are looking to boost their chances of staying in the Premier League next season by tightening up at the back.

Stephens featured 29 times for Saints in the 2018/19 campaign but with the St Mary's outfit looking to sign another central defender, he could be allowed to leave if a decent offer comes in.

The 25-year-old started his career at Plymouth before he was spotted by Saints in 2011 when they bought him for £150,000.

He had loan spells at Swindon [twice], Middlesbrough and Coventry in order to gain some valuable experience.

Stephens eventually made his Premier League debut for Saints in a 3-0 defeat to Everton in January 2017.

His efforts during the second half of that season were rewarded with an extended five-year contract, keeping him at the club until 2022.

In total, Stephens has made 71 appearances for Saints, scoring four times.