It’s fair to say Ollie Watkins has enjoyed an incredible start to life at Aston Villa.
Signed from Brentford in the summer transfer window, the 24-year-old has started like a house on fire for Dean Smith’s side, bagging five goals in his six opening games – including netting a terrific hat-trick against Premier League champions Liverpool in a 7-2 win for his team.
However, things could have been oh-so different for Villa had they managed to secure a deal for Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard. Reports suggested that the Premier League side were one of the teams interested in luring the Frenchman away from Parkhead, with Bhoys boss Neil Lennon admitting interest in his star striker from elsewhere.
He said: “We don’t want Odsonne to go, obviously, and we have had no significant interest in him as yet. There’s always a bit of agitation when the window is open, but speaking to him he seems content enough.”
Like Watkins, Edouard has also enjoyed a fine start to the new season up in Scotland, scoring six times in 13 games across all competitions. Crucially, the France U21 international has had plenty of experience at a high level, whether that be on the international stage or in European competition with Celtic.
In his time at Parkhead, Edouard has scored 13 goals and provided eight assists in 32 games in a mixture of Champions League and Europa League outings, and his ability to both find the back of the net himself and create opportunities for others makes him a complete striker.
It’s no surprise that Lennon has talked highly about his star striker, saying: “He’s hugely important (to us), he’s an outstanding footballer, talismanic almost, he’s so talented, so cool. He’s up there with some of the best we’ve had over the last 20 odd years.”
Valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, Edouard’s numbers in some key areas are comfortably better than Watkins from this season. As per Whoscored, the Frenchman boasts a greater average in shots (3.7 to 3.3), dribbles (1.7 to one), and pass accuracy too (80.1 to 59.7%).
Watkins has shown plenty of promise in his first few games for his new club, but he still has a long way to go to prove himself at the highest level given that he has been playing in the lower divisions.
Edouard may well have been the lesser risk in the summer.
And in other news, Villa must fend off the competition to sign this Championship star.