Aston Villa are reportedly set to beat Crystal Palace and Sheffield United in triggering an £18million release clause to sign Brentford striker Ollie Watkins – and Dean Smith has been an admirer since he first signed him at Brentford.
Watkins, 23, has been in sensational form for Brentford during the past 12 months – spearheading the most-feared attack in Championship football along with Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbuemo. He scored 26 goals.
Those goals saw Brentford reach the play-off final, but the defeat to Fulham at Wembley has seen the Telegraph claim that an £18million clause in Watkins’ contract remains – due to the Bees staying in the Championship.
The report says Villa are set to trigger that clause while Palace and Sheffield United are keen. Smith, who signed Watkins from Exeter at Brentford in 2017, is a big fan of the striker and has been since signing him.
Following a 3-2 pre-season win over MK Dons in which Watkins scored his first goal for Brentford three years ago, Smith told the Evening Standard: “You saw Ollie Watkins, who can play in a number of positions, and he looks a hell of a player. We saw what he can do.”
TBR’s view – Smith reunion with Watkins can see player shine
Goals, assists, versatility, pace, trickery, strength and aerial ability. Watkins really does have it all. At £18million, he is an absolute no-brainer for the majority of Premier League clubs this summer.
If Villa can nab him, then they have pulled off a real coup. The Smith connection will certainly help their cause, but surely Watkins may even fancy himself to join a side that finished higher than Villa.