By Wayne Veysey

3rd Mar, 2022 | 7:38am

Sources: Arsenal handed 'huge' boost in bid to sign Aston Villa star Ollie Watkins

Arsenal have been handed a “huge” boost in their bid to lure Ollie Watkins from Aston Villa this summer, Football Insider understands.

The England international, 26, is on the target list of attackers that Mikel Arteta’s team want to sign in the main transfer window.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Villa will listen to offers for Watkins as manager Steven Gerrard is not convinced he is the A-list striker he needs.

Watkins has been a mainstay of the Villa starting XI since signing from Brentford in the summer of 2020 for a fee of £28million plus £5m of add-ons.

Gerrard is an admirer of the versatile forward but accepts that the super-ambitious Midlands giants could have to cash in on him to get an even better front man.

That could open the door to Arsenal for what the source explained could be a “huge” summer move.

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Arsenal’s recruitment team are assessing potential forward options who can fit into Arteta’s style of play.

Watkins is on their radar because he has blistering pace, can play a quick tempo game and has an eye for goal.

At Villa, he has been used mainly at centre-forward but he has sometimes been pushed out wide to run at opponents, dip his shoulder and move both ways.

Watkins has scored six goals in 23 matches in all competitions this season, with all the strikes coming in the Premier League.

He ended a two-and-a-half month scoring drought by netting in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Brighton.

In other news, Arsenal have been hit by a “major blow” as pictures emerge in the last 24 hours.