Striker who Jurgen Klopp deemed 'really talented' says Leeds wanted to sign him last summer
Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has admitted that Leeds United spoke to him about a potential move to Elland Road last summer.
The Whites were heavily linked with the 25-year-old striker after Marcelo Bielsa guided the Yorkshire side to the Championship title and promotion to the Premier League.
Watkins enjoyed a fruitful 2019-20 campaign with Brentford, scoring 26 Championship goals, but it wasn’t to be for the Bees as they were beaten in the playoff semi-finals.
He opted for Aston Villa in the end, moving for a reported £28million potentially rising to £33million, and has done superbly for his new club.
This season, Watkins has registered 13 goals and five assists in the Premier League, as well as a further two goals in the League Cup, and has also won his first England cap, scoring on his debut.
Looking back at the 2020-21 campaign, Watkins spoke to Sky Sports about the options he had last summer.
“There were quite a few (clubs interested),” said the Three Lions ace. “Leeds were interested in me, but they signed Rodrigo.
“Tottenham were interested in me – they made it clear if Harry Kane was fit, then he would play.
“I did have that in the back of my mind, but they said with the schedule and the Europa League, there were a lot of games coming up.
“I had big decisions to make, but in the end, I felt like I made the right one.
“The gaffer (Dean Smith) was a huge part in bringing me to Villa. I had worked with him and had such a close relationship with him at Brentford.”
Watkins has been superb this season, earning plaudits from peers, pundits and coaches including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, who saw the Villa ace put four past his team this season.
“Ollie is a really, really talented striker and obviously the manager knew him from before and it was a really good signing,” Klopp told the Liverpool media team in April.
That said, Rodrigo had done well for Leeds and has three goals and one assist from his last three league games.
Hopefully he can stay injury-free next season and help the Whites go even higher up the table.
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