Aston Villa are reportedly on the brink of announcing a new lengthy new contract for star striker Ollie Watkins which will officially put to bed any rumours of a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal or Chelsea.
The seven-times capped England striker moved to Villa Park in summer 2020, the Villains – managed at the time by Dean Smith – paying Brentford a then-club record £33m fee. Despite some eyebrows being raised at the size of the fee, Watkins has more than earned his corn at Villa. Indeed, he has reached double figures in each of his three full seasons to date, scoring a total of 47 goals and adding 15 assists in 142 appearances to date.
His deal at Villa Park is currently due to expire in 2025 and speculation has arisen of late that some of the Premier League biggest spenders are casting envious eyes in Watkins’ direction. To that end, both Chelsea and Arsenal are both in the market for new strikers in 2024 and Watkins has found his name strongly linked with both of the London big guns.
Indeed, reports on Tuesday suggested the 27-year-old’s agent, Paulo Vernazza, has already held tentative talks with officials at the Gunners over a possible future move to Emirates.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have lacked a cutting edge all season and have largely struggled to find a reliable No 9 they can hang their hat on in attack with a number of costly signings failing to prove their worth at Stamford Bridge.
However, Unai Emery has made no secret of his desire to extend Watkins’ contract at Villa and ensure the £70m-rated striker’s future remains in claret and blue.
Villa ‘reach agreement’ on new Ollie Watkins deal
Speaking on Sunday, Emery admitted he was feeling a little nervous that Villa are yet to nail his star striker down.
“I am concerned about it [sorting a new contract for Watkins] and we are working on it. We are in touch, we are talking,” Emery explained after the 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
“Watkins in practice every day, his commitment is very high. He wants to work and he wants to help the team. When he scores, we’re happy because he always deserves to score.
“He’s trying to get his objective, his target, through the team. The first is to win and the second is to score,” Emery continued when commenting on his No 11’s impressive dedication to be the best he can possibly be.
However, despite links to Arsenal and Chelsea increasing in recent days, it appears Watkins is now on the brink of extending his stay at Villa Park to put those rumours to bed.
And according to talkSPORT, there is a strong willingness from both parties to extend Watkins’ stay amid claims the star has now reached agreement over a new and improved deal at Villa Park.
To that end, Watkins is expected to sign a two-year extension to his arrangement, tying him to the club until 2027.
The news will come as much relief to Emery, who will understandably be delighted to nail down his star striker, who has started every Premier League game so far this season.