By Harry Sykes
Aston Villa fans on Twitter have reacted with enthusiasm to the club pursuing newly available Barnsley winger Marley Watkins.
The right-sided midfielder has put a number of leading clubs on red alert after the Tykes announced on their official website on Wednesday that he will be released when his contract expires next month.
The goal and assist machine, 26, has been in talks over a new Barnsley deal but has told the club he wants to explore other options.
This has opened the door to the likes of Villa, who have been strongly linked with a summer swoop for one of the outstanding attacking players in this season’s Championship.
The Daily Mail claimed last month that Villa have made an approach for Watkins, who has contributed to a remarkable 19 league goals this season.
Villa fans are enthused about the possibility of their club signing the dynamic wide right player given their team’s own struggles from that position last season.
Some pointed out that the signing would have added appeal because Watkins would arrive on a free transfer.
Here is a selection of their messages on Twitter:
#avfc Watkins, Abraham, Johnstone and a CB would be great business
— Lewis Charlwood (@Lewis_C_AVFC) May 10, 2017
Marley Watkins potential first summer signing on a free?? I’d take that #AVFC
— Jenson (@JewsonJosephYo) May 10, 2017
I would sign Marley Watkins #avfc
— Luke Marshall (@marshallavfc) May 10, 2017
— Adam Parsons (@adparso) May 10, 2017
Barnsley winger Marley Watkins has put Aston Villa on red alert after telling his club he wants to quit.
Free transfer ????#AVFC
— ⚽️C A R L⚽️ (@HolteEnder74) May 10, 2017
Villa already raided bree & hourihane from Barnsley @MartinSalloway1 now rumoured to be looking at winger watkins. angus too? imagine 😉
— Rachel Malloch (@RachelVillavox) May 11, 2017
Watkins will be a player in demand when his contract expires at Barnsley at the end of June given that no fee will be involved.
The former non-league has made a huge impression at Barnsley since joining from Inverness in the summer of 2015.
He has demonstrated his pedigree with 10 goals and nine assists in 42 league matches this season, the kind of statistics that no Villa attacking midfielder has been able to match.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club have been installed hot favourites to sign a 25-goal striker ripping up one of the world’s toughest leagues.