Arsenal are reportedly eyeing a shock summer move for Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins, who has been in tremendous form recently.
Despite the excellent form of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah this season, Mikel Arteta seems keen to bring in a new centre-forward after being linked with several names recently.
Watkins has certainly proven his quality under Unai Emery this season, but Arsenal would be tough to turn down if they do come calling.
Against Newcastle on Saturday, the 27-year-old scored his 11th goal in his last 14 Premier League games to continue the best run of form of his career.
Indeed, Watkins has broken numerous records this season, including becoming the first Villa player in their history to score in five consecutive Premier League games.
His goals have fired them to sixth place in the Premier League table, with Emery’s team now dreaming of Europa League or Europa Conference League qualification.
Watkins would clearly be a major loss for Villa, so Arsenal would have to table a very high offer to have any chance at all of signing him this summer.
Arteta eyeing swoop for Watkins
Nevertheless, Football Insider claim that Arteta has now made Watkins one of his primary summer targets.
The report adds that the manager has been wowed by his prolific form of late and Arsenal could table a sizeable offer for his services.
Watkins’ current £75,000-a-week deal at Villa Park is set to expire in 2025, but he is currently in talks over a new contract, so it will be interesting to see if the links with Arsenal have an impact on negotiations.
However, these negotiations are, at present, believed to be progressing well with the striker requesting an increased wage of £100,000.
While Football Insider do not mention how much they would demand for Watkins, any successful bid for his services would surely have to be a record-breaking sale for Villa.
The question, though, is whether or not Arsenal really need to sign a new centre-forward at all.
Jesus has netted nine goals in 19 Premier League outings this term, along with making six assists, giving him an outstanding average of 0.79 goal contributions per game.
Plus, if he hadn’t picked up a serious injury mid-season, his numbers could have been even better.
As for Nketiah, he may have only scored four league goals overall, but he still showed the quality required to fill in for Jesus in his absence, and did enough to help keep Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if any offer is tabled for Watkins this summer – if, indeed, Villa don’t tie him down to a new contract before then.