He’s here and he’s perfect. Ollie Watkins is an Aston Villa player.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
The news that has been on everyone’s lips for a fair few weeks has finally come to fruition for Aston Villa.
Ollie Watkins has joined Aston Villa on a five-year deal for a reported £28,000,000 initial fee – a new record for the club.. Dean Smith is no stranger to Watkins, having coached him previously at Brentford. The striker had an absolutely stellar season for Brentford last term, bagging 26 goals across all competitions.
The worrisome percentage of Aston Villa supporters are slightly worried that the step up to the Premier League will see Watkins’ goal-scoring ability dry up, but time will tell if that is truly the case. Other than being an out-and-out striker, Watkins has played on the right flank on and off during his career. In the event of injury or selection issues, this makes Watkins a very decent acquisition as he seems very comfortable playing in either position.
The transfer of Watkins was mired in drama while Villa and Brentford ironed out the finer details of the transfer agreement. Villa supporters felt they were being made to be in a bidding war of sorts, as other clubs had a serious interest in Watkins. While we may never know the true extent of how high Brentford tried to drive the price for Watkins, Villa supporters far and wide are excited to see a player come in the door with a previous pedigree of scoring goals regardless.
In the grand scheme of things, Watkins will be a visible upgrade to what Villa currently have at the club. The worst kept secret in the Premier League was how desperate Villa was to score goals last campaign and adding a player of Watkins ability should help in that department. The 24-year-old may not the world-class signing some Villa fans hoped for, but it is a signing that can grow and mature with the club and the ambition set forth by ownership and management.
On joining the club, Watkins said:
“I am so excited to join Aston Villa and to reunite with Dean Smith as my Head Coach.
“I cannot wait to wear the famous claret and blue in the Premier League.
“I want to do something special here and score goals.”
Watkins will be a part of a striking core of Wesley (when he regains fitness), Aly Samatta & Keinan Davis. Davis just may be loaned out to get nailed on starting minutes now that Watkins has arrived, but that’s more down to how Dean Smith and his coaching staff see the progression of Davis after last season. The other striker in the ranks at Villa is Scott Hogan, who will likely be sold back into the Championship after a ten-goal season at rivals Birmingham City.
After much deliberation and calculated moves, Aston Villa are starting to seem like a club with a clearly laid plan of what they’re trying to achieve. Staying in the Premier League on the last day of the season cannot happen again and would be completely unacceptable.
The natural progression of the club looks as promising as it has in many years after being promoted and staying in the Premier League. It is now down to Dean Smith and his coaching staff to put it all together and find a way to make Villa a concrete mainstay in the top tier of English football once again.