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Ollie Watkins could be a big upgrade for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace have been linked with signing Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins recently and the England international could be a big upgrade on Jean-Philippe Mateta in Patrick Vieira’s side.

According to journalist Ben Jacobs, both Palace and Leeds United are monitoring the former Brentford man’s situation at Aston Villa ahead of a potential swoop.

He suggests that the 26-year-old could be one to watch before the transfer window shuts, although also claims that Villa have dismissed any claims of tension between the striker and manager Steven Gerrard, maintaining that the club don’t want to sell this summer.

Previous reports have suggested that Watkins could cost as much as £50m, which would represent a huge outlay for Palace, although he would arguably be a significant upgrade on Vieira’s current striker options.

Last season saw Mateta contribute just five goals and one assist in the Premier League, averaging a less than impressive 6.64 rating from WhoScored for his performances.

Who is the better striker?

Watkins

Watkins

Mateta

Mateta

Watkins, meanwhile, would hit 11 goals and two assists, averaging a solid 6.9 rating from WhoScored, while he marked his first Premier League start this season with two assists in the win against Everton.

Watkins also outperformed the Frenchman with regards to shots (2.2 vs 1.7), key passes (1 vs 0.3) and dribbles per game (1.1 vs 0.5) last season, which emphasises that he is clearly the better all-round forward.

The Englishman does not lack ability in the air but possesses the pace that Mateta and Odsonne Edouard lack, so he could definitely be an upgrade for Vieira, as he is a willing runner that can work the channels and also press the opposition.

Jamie Carragher was full of praise for the Villa striker last season, saying:

“He’s been a real handful tonight. Every time that ball goes up. No defender has had a free header. Great body strength. He’s been bullying those centre-backs about, especially Matip, who has found it – not difficult – but it’s been a real fight every time it’s gone up to the front man.”

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That certainly wasn’t the first time Watkins has caused problems against Liverpool, as he hit a perfect hat-trick in the remarkable 7-2 win against Jurgen Klopp’s side in 2020.

Anyone that is able to bully Virgil van Dijk, who is undoubtedly one of the top defenders in world football, is a player worth watching and while he could be an expensive option for Palace, he would definitely represent a big upgrade in Vieira’s attack.

Article title: Ollie Watkins could be a big upgrade for Crystal Palace

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