By Dominic Toner
Aston Villa are interested in signing Exeter forward Ollie Watkins, according to a report.
The Star claim that Villa have lined up the 21-year-old as a potential replacement for Jack Grealish if he leaves the club.
The player is also the subject of interest from Championship play-off rivals Derby and Mansfield.
Watkins was named in the starting line-up for Exeter on Saturday in the League Two clash with Portsmouth that Exeter went on to win 1-0.
That means Villa have a very short window to negotiate a deal as Exeter play again on the final day of the January window.
The report details that Mansfield have seen a £350,000 bid turned down as it doesn’t match up with Exeter’s valuation.
Watkins has been in good form for Exeter this season, scoring 10 goals and adding nine assists in 29 appearances across all competitions.
The youngster has only made 55 senior appearances during his career, scoring a total of 20 goals.
Football Insider verdict:
Watkins has impressed in League Two this season and is tipped to play in a higher league in the future, but he is not the kind of player Villa need right now. Steve Bruce has made some important January signings, bringing in the likes of midfielder Conor Hourihane and Sam Johnstone from Manchester United. The Midlands club currently have Jonathan Kodjia leading the attack and Watkins is unlikely to force his way into the first-team. Villa are building a squad that could bridge the nine-point gap to the play-off places and now would not be the time to bring Watkins in from League Two.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club have submitted a bid for a Premier League duo.