Aston Villa prepare bumper Ollie Watkins contract to fend off giants

By Wayne Veysey

19th Apr, 2022 | 10:46am

Sources: Aston Villa prepare bumper Ollie Watkins contract to fend off giants

Aston Villa are preparing a bumper new contract for Ollie Watkins to fend off growing interest, Football Insider understands.

Arsenal are among the clubs interested in the England striker ahead of the summer window.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Villa have turned their attention to securing Watkins’ long-term future.

They have already secured Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause to new contracts in recent months.

Watkins, 26, still has over three years to run on his current deal, but Villa want to bring him in line with the other top earners at the club as a reward for his progress.

Watkins has established himself as a key man in the Villa side since his arrival from Brentford in the summer of 2020.

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The Torquay-born striker has notched eight goals and one assist across 29 games in all competitions this term.

He has also earned England recognition since his move to Villa Park.

The forward has netted two goals in seven caps since making his debut in March 2021.

Watkins’ impressive scoring form in the EFL for Brentford and Exeter prompted former Villa boss Dean Smith to pay a reported potential £33million fee for his signature in September 2020.

The striker repaid the faith shown by Smith by scoring 14 goals in his first-ever top-flight season.

Prolific Premier League hitman Danny Ings was drafted in by Aston Villa last summer (2021) but has primarily played second fiddle to Watkins.

The two have also played together, with Villa boss Steven Gerrard employing a midfield diamond to accommodate the change.

Aston Villa sit 15th in the Premier League – 18 points adrift of the top six.

The Midlands giants are next in action against Leicester City on Saturday (23 April).

In other news, Aston Villa set sights on Rangers star.