This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Brentford striker Ollie Watkins is a man in demand.
And it’s quite clear to see why given the electric 2019/20 campaign he had for Thomas Frank’s side, in which he scored 26 league goals to push the Bees into the Championship play-off final.
Ultimately, the west London side fell at the final hurdle after losing to Fulham, and as a result Watkins is now looking increasingly likely to depart.
An array of clubs have been touted with a move for the 24-year-old, with Leeds, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United just some of the clubs linked with a transfer for the former Exeter City player.
So, where would be best for Watkins? What next step would be best for his development and progression?
The team here at FLW have their say…..
Watkins is arguably the best British striker outside of the Premier League, and he needs to consider his options carefully this summer as a positive season next term could even lead to an international call-up by Gareth Southgate.
After a stellar season in front of goal as a centre-forward, Watkins naturally has a plethora of big clubs in the Premier League after his services, and I think the Aston Villa link stands out to me.
He’d obviously be working under Dean Smith, a manager who knows him really well indeed having brought him to Griffin Park from Exeter City, and I think there is scope for Watkins to come in and lead the line after Villa’s toothless displays in front of goal this season.
The likes of Mbwana Samatta and Wesley both failed to show any sort of prolific touch in front of goal last term, and I feel that they need a natural number 9 who can come in, run the channels and lead the line expertly well on his own.
Watkins has done that superbly well for Brentford this season, and I think he has all the attributes, such as pace and strength, to thrive in the Premier League and become a top player for Villa.
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There are certainly some interesting options but for me it’s got to be between Leeds and Aston Villa.
Yes, Celtic are a big club but the Premier League is surely where all English players want to prove themselves.
The draw of Marcelo Bielsa must be massive but that is counteracted by the Argentinian’s faith in Patrick Bamford. Watkins won’t want to go somewhere to sit on the bench.
Villa and reuniting with Dean Smith certainly has it’s positives as well. Playing alongside a talented playmaker like Jack Grealish could be fantastic for Watkins.
If I was the Brentford man, I’d be feeling out both of those moves to see which I felt could give me the most and would suit me the best.
It has to be Aston Villa.
He needs to go somewhere he is going to be starting regularly in the Premier League and I think that rules out the biggest clubs right now.
However, Villa have an opening for him and Dean Smith would know how best to get him firing as he has been for Brentford.
Aside from Villa, I think a West Ham or Crystal Palace would also be decent for him whilst Newcastle could be a massive move if he hit it off as the fans would adore him.
Villa, though, makes the most sense in my mind.