Emery could land a big Watkins upgrade with Villa swoop for “clinical” £44m “phenom” – opinion

Aston Villa are seemingly plotting to strengthen their attacking ranks before the end of the window, with manager Unai Emery having sanctioned the £15m exit of Danny Ings to West Ham United last week.

With the Englishman no longer at Villa Park, the goalscoring burden has been placed firmly on the shoulders of compatriot Ollie Watkins, albeit with the 27-year-old boasting a rather meagre return of just four goals in 19 Premier League games so far this season.

Although the former Brentford man has hit double figures in each of the last two top-flight seasons, the jury is out on whether he can truly deliver on a consistent basis for the Midlands outfit, having missed nine big chances so far this term – the joint-sixth most in the division.

This follows reports from during the summer window that claimed the England international was set to be moved on by former boss Steven Gerrard, having arguably not truly won over Villa supporters since his £28m arrival back in 2020.

As such, Emery could well find an upgrade on the £75k-per-week man in the form of Lille sensation, Jonathan David, with the Canadian international having been tipped for a move to the club during the previous window.

Transfer insider Dean Jones – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – has now suggested that the 23-year-old could emerge as a possible target for the Villans before the window closes, with the club also said to be holding an interest in Lyon marksman, Moussa Dembele.

The respected source stated: “Jonathan David is another option but probably quite a more expensive one. He’s going to cost quite a lot of money, whereas Moussa Dembele won’t because of his contract situation and that’s what I imagine Villa will try and tap into now.”

As stated above, the signing of the Brooklyn-born “phenom” – as lauded by journalist Tony Marinaro – could prove rather costly with a fee of around €50m (£44m) having been mooted of late, although the youngster has seemingly warranted that price tag due to his explosive form in recent times.

Unlike the rather goal-shy Watkins, the former Genk ace has enjoyed a real hot streak in front of goal this season, with 12 goals in only 19 Ligue 1 games thus far, after previously netting 15 league goals in 38 games last season.

That ensures that he now has 45 goals in just 117 games in all competitions for the French outfit, after previously proving “clinical” during his time in Belgium, as per talent scout Jacek Kulig, with 37 goals in just 83 games for the Pro League side.

The 38-cap speedster also offers the ability to provide for his teammates having created five big chances so far this season and averaged 1.4 key passes per game in the league, while Watkins has only created one big chance and averages just 0.8 key passes per game.

That should indicate that it could well be David who is the ideal fit to lead Emery’s attack over the coming years, rather than persisting with the one-time Exeter City man.


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