HAMPSHIRE want to bring Sam Northeast to the Ageas Bowl.

The Kent batsman is set to leave his home county after being replaced as captain by England international Sam Billings.

Playing for a first division county would significantly improve Northeast’s England prospects and he has not extended a contract that expires at the end of next season.

Billings’ appointment has seen several counties linked with Northeast and Hampshire director of cricket Giles White has confirmed his interest He told the Daily Echo: “Sam Northeast is a player of quality; he’s proved to be a good leader over the years and is pushing for an England spot.

“We would definitely be interested in a player like that.

“He’s a No. 4 batsman in the County Championship and a No. 3 in T20 - he would be a very good fit for us as “We’ll talk to him and see what his thoughts are.

“Ultimately it will come down to where he wants to play his cricket and he will make his decision.”

Kent have already lost former Hampshire all-rounder Matt Coles to county champions Essex since the end of last season and it seems only a matter of time before Northeast joins him in the first division.

With Michael Carberry now at Leicestershire, Will Smith back at Durham and James Vince and Liam Dawson away increasingly often on England and England Lions duty, Northeast would provide the top order with much-needed firepower.

After a decade in county cricket, Northeast knows many of Hampshire’s players well, having played for England U19s with Vince and Chris Wood.

He will be captaining Dawson when the South take on the North in a 50-over series in Barbados in March.

Several counties, including Sussex and Nottinghamshire, are also expected to be vying for Northeast’s signature.

Hampshire will hope Northeast’s happy memories of the Ageas Bowl work in their favour.

The 28 year-old has a first-class career aggregate of 8,528 runs at 39.66.

That includes 647 Championship runs at 53.91 against Hampshire, including 422 at 70.33 at The Ageas Bowl, where he scored (division two) centuries in 2012 and 2014.

Northeast made 688 runs at 24.6 in his only first division season (2010) but has been prolific as Kent’s captain.

Before replacing Rob Key in the role in 2015, Northeast had not made 1,000 first-class runs in a season.

But he has passed the milestone in all three seasons as captain, scoring a total of 3,623 runs at 56.6, including nine centuries, from 2015-17.

He has captained Kent in all competitions for the last three seasons, averaging 30-plus overall in both limited-overs forms - scoring three half-centuries in six T20 innings against Hampshire.

Like Billings, Northeast was an outstanding schoolboy sportsman, breaking many batting records at Harrow while also excelling at football, rugby, squash and rackets.