With seven wins, one draw and nine defeats under their belt so far this season, Aston Villa have had a mixed season so far that has seen Dean Smith replaced by Steven Gerrard at the helm.
One player that has been a pivotal figure for Villa this season is striker Ollie Watkins, who has played in 15 of their 17 Premier League games, scoring five goals and providing one assist in the process.
In recent days, Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal player Alan Smith shared his thoughts on the current striker situation at the north London club and the possibility of Mikel Arteta’s side targeting a move for Watkins in the future as a potential replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He said: “In terms of his movement, maybe Ollie Watkins is a striker I’d have thought Arsenal would look at but are they looking at him? I’m not sure Steven Gerrard would be letting him go in a hurry. However, that kind of mobile central striker that will really threaten in behind defenders, perhaps, is a bit more like it.”
Since joining the Midlands club back in the 2020 summer transfer window from Brentford in a deal worth a reported fee of £28m, the Englishman has made a total of 55 appearances for the Villans across all competitions, scoring 21 goals and providing six assists along the way, proving just how important he is for Gerrard’s side.
With this in mind, it would be nothing short of a catastrophe if Villa were to sell Watkins, who is currently valued at £28.8m according to Transfermarkt, anytime soon to another Premier League club.
Having been labelled as a “magnificent” player by Alex McLeish, Watkins’ current contract at Villa isn’t set to expire until the summer of 2025, which could put to bed any concerns that some Villa fans may have about the 25-year-old’s future.
Moving forward, the best way to make sure Watkins doesn’t get tempted to move away from Villa would be for the club owners, Johan Lange and Steven Gerrard to remind the player just how important he is to the team and that their ambitions are to play in Europe.
That could be a significant factor in keeping Watkins at the club for the remainder of his contract, especially if they manage to do that by the end of the current season.