Aston Villa are preparing a shock swoop for Barry Town United defender Macauley Southam-Hales, according to Football Insider.
The 22-year-old has starred in the Welsh Premier League for Barry this season, helping them reach the league summit and attracting interest from the Championship in the process.
A former midfielder, Southam-Hales has proved to be a revelation in Barry’s backline after joining in August 2017. He ascended Cardiff City’s youth ranks and represented the Bluebirds at under-23 level before being deemed surplus to requirements and signing for Barry.
The right-back’s scintillating form has also caught the attention of Villa’s Championship rivals Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers, who have been monitoring the former Wales youth international alongside League One side Barnsley.
Although Barry are flying high in Wales’ top tier, they are a semi-professional outfit and Villa will be hoping to entice Southam-Hales with the offer of full-time, professional football.
Villa boss Dean Smith has made no secret of his desire to recruit before the January transfer window slams shut and the Villains have been linked with moves for Brentford star Romaine Sawyers and Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna.
Smith worked with Sawyers during his time with Brentford and is reportedly keen on landing McKenna, who was originally a target of previous manager Steve Bruce.
Hull City visit Villa Park on Saturday and the hosts will be desperate to produce a response after back-to-back 3-0 defeats,