Aston Villa could make a serious profit on England striker Ollie Watkins as a report claims West Ham are hoping to sign him this summer.
Watkins came through the ranks at Exeter City and made 78 appearances for the club before joining Brentford in July 2017. He went on to score 49 goals in 143 matches for the Bees, helping them to reach the play-off final in 2019-20, where they lost to Fulham.
Brentford sold Watkins that summer as Aston Villa agreed to pay £28million for his services. That saw the Midlands outfit break their club record transfer fee, although it has since been increased by the capture of Emi Buendia.
Watkins hit 16 goals in 40 matches for Villa during 2020-21, making it a successful first season in the Premier League for him.
The 26-year-old will have to end the current campaign in deadly form if he wants to match that figure. His record stands at 10 goals from 32 outings so far, with four games left to play.
Watkins, now a seven-cap England international, is becoming a reliable attacker at Premier League level. Despite this, reports suggest Steven Gerrard could sanction an exit in the summer.
This is where West Ham come in. According to The Guardian, David Moyes is desperate to bring in a new striker at the end of the season and Watkins is a perfect solution.
As a result, West Ham are set to bid for the star once the summer transfer window opens.
Ollie Watkins wanted in east London
Signing Watkins would lessen the burden on Michail Antonio and keep the Irons going in the right direction.
They are proving to be effective in the transfer market and the capture of Watkins would continue this trend.
However, the Villa man will not come cheap. Due to the Villans’ recent investment in him, they will demand £50m to sell later this year.
This would force West Ham to break their transfer record. This currently stands at the £45m they paid for Sebastien Haller, although he left for £20.25m 18 months later.
Such a fee would also see Gerrard’s team pick up an attractive £22m profit on Watkins.
It looks like the player’s future could rely on Gerrard. Should he want a top-class replacement at Villa Park, then West Ham may be given the green light to sign Watkins.
Elsewhere, Villa reportedly have competition for the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho. That’s because Newcastle are eager to capture the Brazilian from Barcelona.