Back in the summer, Southampton were linked with a move for Brentford star Ollie Watkins, along with Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.
Sky Sports reported in May that the Saints were long-term admirers of the former Exeter City attacker, and were also expected to revive their interest in Watkins – however, no move ever came to fruition.
Since then, the 24-year-old’s form has been so good that Ralph Hasenhuttl may presumably be kicking himself that he didn’t tie up a deal for the Brentford No.11.
Following an excellent 2018/18 campaign in which he scored ten goals and recorded six assists, Watkins has netted an impressive 17 goals while also grabbing two assists in 26 Championship appearances this term – he has landed five WhoScored Man of the Match awards along the way as well.
His 17-goal haul includes one hat-trick – scored against Barnsley – as well as four braces which came against Derby, QPR, Swansea and most recently Bristol City, who Brentford beat 4-0 on New Year’s Day.
Watkins has made all but one of his 26 appearances as a centre-forward, playing one game out on the right, although the English attacker can in fact play anywhere across the frontline according to Transfermarkt.
This would’ve be ideal for Hasenhuttl in terms of incorporating Watkins into the same XI as 13-goal Danny Ings, as the former RB Leipzig boss has shown a tendency to change up his formation more often than not this season – the Austrian coach has used nine different tactical systems in the Premier League this term, with some set-ups requiring wide men and a centre-forward such as the 4-3-3 and 4-4-2.
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It is for that reason – Watkins’ versatility – as well as his eye-catching goalscoring output that Hasenhuttl may well be regretting his failure to land the Championship star back in the summer. It feels like the Torbay-born forward would’ve been ideal for Southampton.
In other news, Hasenhuttl has pinpointed what he believes to be the catalyst for Southampton’s good form of late…