DARREN Bent has tipped Charlie Austin to be a success at Aston Villa.

The Premier League new boys have been linked with a move for striker Austin, who has been told he can leave the club this summer.

And with Dean Smith's side already raiding Saints for Matt Targett, Bent admits the former QPR man could be a great addition at Villa Park.

Bent said: “Charlie Austin is a funny one because I like him as a centre-forward. He scores goals, you can’t take that away from him – injury prone, that’s the only thing.

Daily Echo: Former Aston Villa striker Darren BentFormer Aston Villa striker Darren Bent

“If you can keep Charlie fit for the whole season and if you can keep him consistently playing for 30 games this season he will score you 15 goals.

“Within 10 games he’ll score five or six goals and if Aston Villa can get him, then, by all means, ‘yes’.

“If he’s going to be one that plays six games, miss the next 20, play the next five games and then he misses the next 10 there’s no point, he’s not helping you.”

Austin joined Saints from QPR three years ago and went on to net against Manchester United on his debut.

The 30-year-old also bagged the winner against Arsenal last December which led to Ralph Hasenhuttl's first victory in charge of the St Mary's outfit.

But with Hasenhuttl adding Che Adams to his attacking department this summer, Austin has fallen further down the pecking order.

He was last week left at home by the Saints boss for the club's pre-season trip to Austria which culminated in a 1-1 draw with SCR Altach on Sunday.

Former Aston Villa striker Bent added: “If they can get him and he’s fit Charlie Austin, he’s going to be one of them Tammy Abraham’s they get themselves in positions to score goals and he’ll keep doing that.

“There are other aspects of his game where they’re maybe not up to scratch but he’s like me as a centre forward – I don’t really care, if I’m scoring goals then people can say what they like.

“For me Charlie Austin, he’s an out-and-out centre forward but you just worry about his injury history.

“If you can get him and keep him fit then 100 per cent I’d go and get him.”

There were suggestions in the national media over the weekend claiming that the attacker was subject to a bid from West Brom.

However, the Daily Echo understands that those reports were wide of the mark.

It was claimed that Austin rejected the Championship side’s £8m approach in order to see out his final year at Saints.

Since joining in 2016, the striker has made 76 appearances and scored 18 goals.

His most fruitful seasons came during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 campaigns when he netted seven times in all competitions.