'Massive' - Exclusive: Bent tips Villa to beat Leeds to two new signings
Darren Bent claims that Aston Villa have a “massive” advantage over Leeds United in the hunt to sign Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma from Brentford.
The former Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the fact Dean Smith previously signed the pair for the Bees could be a deciding factor this summer.
As revealed by Football Insider earlier this week, Aston Villa are working on signing the attacking pair in a deal which could cost as much as £50million.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay has reported that Leeds are also keen on the Brentford pair and could make a move following the Bees’ play-off defeat to Fulham.
However, Bent believes that Villa hold the upper hand over their rivals thanks to the man in the dugout.
Asked what advantage Villa would have with Dean Smith at the helm, Bent told Football Insider: “It’s humongous because now you’ve got a familiar face there and you’ve got a manager that believes in you.
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“You’ve had a manager that’s signed you, gave you your chance at Brentford, you’ve done well there and now he’s secured Premier League survival, he’s thinking: ‘Right, I want to come and get you.’ That is humongous, it’s massive.
“If Leeds come in for them two and so do Aston Villa, I can genuinely see them two guys going to Villa because they know Dean Smith and when you’ve got a manager that believes in you, there’s nothing better.”
Smith signed both Watkins and Benrahma for Brentford back in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The duo were two of the Bees’ outstanding performers during their push for promotion with 26 and 17 goals to their name.
In other Aston Villa news, Hutton makes big Aston Villa transfer claim after £50m reveal.