With Dean Smith watching on from the sidelines as his former club failed to get past Fulham in the Championship playoff final, many Villa fans eyes will have been on Said Benrahma. The Algerian international, expected to command a fee in excess of £30m had a decidedly off night as The Bees missed out on promotion.
Villa’s interests likely lie elsewhere within Brentford’s squad, particularly as Dean Smith ponders on goalscoring reinforcements with our current striker’s often appearing impotent in front of goal.
Ollie Watkins, still just 24, came to the attention of many whilst impressing at Exeter. Those fans with a good memory will recall that the striker was linked to Villa back in 2017 as the club plotted it’s return to The Premier League. Perhaps he might have been a more sensible investment than the likes of Ross McCormack, but then that’s with the benefit of hindsight.
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Watkins is an exciting link for an extremely promising striker now entering the prime of his career.
Whilst the Championship is a different grade to the top flight, he has been prolific this season, netting a joint top-scoring 26 goals for Brentford as they narrowly missed out on promotion.
Though it had been widely reported that Watkins was subject to a release clause, believed to be in the region of £18 million pounds, this has since been dismissed. This opens up the question as to what it would take to prize the attacker from Brentford, with speculation that a transfer fee in the region of £25 million would be required.
Goalscorers, however, are worth their weight in gold. £25m is a undoubtedly a lot of money that comes with risk as Watkins as untested against the best defences in the domestic game. He would though arrive with good credentials and a proven scoring pedigree. Equally, what transfer doesn’t come with an element of risk?
Crystal Palace and Sheffield United are known admirers, but with former coach Dean Smith at the helm, the lure of linking back up at Villa could prove decisive and to our advantage.
For Villa, so lacking with goals up-front, securing a striker who knows where the net is will be key to avoiding a repeat of last seasons final day survival from relegation. This window could see some bold decisions made, with this quite possibly one of them.
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