Ollie Watkins reportedly has a non-promotion release clause with Brentford that Aston Villa are ready to trigger.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Following Brentford’s Play-Off Final defeat against Fulham yesterday evening, the Sky Bet Championship’s joint-leading top scorer Ollie Watkins reportedly has a ‘clause’ in his contract that reportedly became active following the sides loss.
And according to John Percy at The Telegraph, Aston Villa are poised to trigger the £18,000,000 release clause of the forward – who is also able to be deployed effectively on the wing.
Dean Smith was in charge of Brentford in 2017 when Watkins was signed for the Bees from Exeter City, and the now Aston Villa boss believes that the 24-year-old could flourish in the Premier League, with his ability to operate in two positions seen as a ‘key quality’.
Midfielder Josh Da Silva and winger Said Benrahma are also attracting interest – but it is unknown whether Aston Villa are interested in either as of yet. This is after the Midland’s outfit decided to sign Trezeguet over Benrahma last summer as the Egyptian offered a ‘cheaper’ option.
Aston Villa will face rivalry for Watkins’ signature however, with both Crystal Palace and Sheffield United also interested in the forward – who enjoyed his best season to date.
It is hoped that the lure of regular playing time and a chance to re-unite with Dean Smith will be enough of a pull to bring Watkins to the Midlands, with Sheffield United overloaded with forwards – however, Palace may see Watkins as a replacement for the expected-to-depart Wilfried Zaha.
There is also the option for Watkins to be deployed in a front two, something not often seen in the current Premier League climate, with the Brentford man adept as laying-off team-mates, whilst boasting strong passing, finishing and heading ability.
At five feet and ten inches, Ollie would be the shortest forward at the club behind Wesley, Keinan Davis and Mbwana Samatta, with the latter expected to face a struggle to remain at the club over this window.
It’s a good start to Aston Villa’s window, and they’re starting quickly – moving under 24 hours after Brentford’s loss made Watkins’ clause active.