Aston Villa: Alex Crook drops Watkins claim

There has been an intriguing update regarding the future of Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins…

What’s the word?

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook has revealed that the Midlands outfit are not planning to part ways with the Englishman this summer, amid reported interest from West Ham United.

Should Villa sell Watkins?

No chance

No chance

Yes please!

Yes please!

The transfer insider has claimed that Villa don’t intend to sell the 26-year-old in the current window and may even opt against bringing in a new centre-forward in order to prioritise other areas: “They’re reasonably well-stocked, aren’t they? They’ve got Ollie Watkins and they’ve got Danny Ings, and they didn’t really seem to find the right solution to get them both into the team.

“I know West Ham have got an interest in Ollie Watkins, but Villa have no plans to sell him. I don’t know if they’ll go for that superstar striker. I think that central midfield area is more of a priority.”

Manager Steven Gerrard has previously been linked with a move to bring former Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez to the club, while there has been some suggestion that Watkins’ strike partner Danny Ings could be up for sale.

Supporters will love it

That news will come as a huge sigh of relief for the Villa Park faithful, with some sections of support having potentially been concerned that they may lose the former Brentford man this summer, particularly with the Hammers able to offer European football next term.

While not prolific, the £31.5m-rated gem has been a reliable goalscoring presence for the club since joining from the Bees two years ago, having since netted 25 Premier League goals and provided a further seven assists in that time.

That tally includes his haul of 11 top-flight goals in the most recent campaign, ultimately finishing as the club’s top scorer in all competitions, ahead of teammate Ings.

His talent does not just lie in putting the ball in the back of the net, however, with the £44k-per-week speedster proving a real pest for any defence, so often applying pressure on an opposition backline with his willingness to press and get in behind.

That analysis is corroborated by his impressive statistics, as he ranks in the top 25% for pressures made and in the top 7% for blocks made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, with the dynamic striker undoubtedly a vital asset to Gerrard’s side.

Perhaps a more ruthless finisher – such as Suarez – may be needed to help bolster the goal tally next term, although supporters will no doubt be aware of the impact that Watkins does make to the team, with his ability to stretch the opposition allowing the more creative talents behind him room to shine.

Making high-profile signings – as the club have already done – will be needed to help push the Villans further up the table next term, although keeping hold of their current stars, such as Watkins, could also prove invaluable.

IN other news, Gerrard can land AVFC’s next Southgate with move for “outstanding” £120k-p/w warrior