Aston Villa ready to sell Ollie Watkins amid Arsenal interest

Steven Gerrard is prepared to sanction a sale for striker Ollie Watkins amid Arsenal’s interest, as the Midlands side seek funding to bring a new forward.

According to Football Insider, Aston Villa could sanction a sale for Ollie Watkins if they receive reasonable offers for the striker in the summer. Arsenal are reportedly interested in the English forward, while Steven Gerrard would like to buy a new striker with the funds the Villans receive for the former Brentford star.

Ollie Watkins has found it hard to replicate his form from the previous season. The striker has somewhat struggled for form and fitness this term, netting only six times in 23 games, with all of the strikes coming in the Premier League. Inconsistent team performances and the constant changes with his position on the pitch have affected his return.

Last season under Dean Smith, Watkins played as the primary striker, leading the line for Villa. However, since they signed Danny Ings, the former Brentford star has been often put out on the left wing to influence the game differently.

While he has been ineffective for most parts, Watkins has had a crucial role when the team shines. After being without a goal for nearly two and a half months, the forward scored against Brighton during the last matchday. However, his future at Villa is far from secure, as the club could look to cash in on him in the summer, as per the report.

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Steven Gerrard remains open to the idea of selling him and bringing in funds to seek out a new forward. While the manager is not particularly unhappy with Watkins’ contribution, the former Liverpool star may feel a new striker might be necessary to progress. Signed from Brentford for £33 million, including add-ons, Villa may command a significant fee for the striker in the summer.

Arsenal have already shown interest, and there could be other clubs coming into the mix if Watkins is put up for sale by Villa. Mikel Arteta is looking for a new forward to continue his squad rebuild. The futures of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah remain in significant doubt with their contracts expiring in the summer. Thus, Arsenal will need to purchase a striker or two in the next window.

Other significant names such as Victor Osimhen, Alexander Isak, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have been linked. Similarly, they are also credited with interest Lille’s Jonathan David, all of whom could cost a considerable amount, in the upwards of £50 million.

Barring Calvert-Lewin, none of these forwards have Premier League experience, which may make Watkins as one of Arsenal’s top targets. Despite his struggles at Villa this season, the striker has shown the ability to play out wide and in central positions, which would appeal to Arteta.

Moreover, Watkins has the physical attributes to replace someone like Lacazette adequately, which will suit Arsenal in the long term. It remains to be seen how much the Gunners are willing to pay for the striker in the coming summer if they are to further their interest.

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