Aston Villa: Gerrard 'has plans' for £50m star at Villa Park

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard celebrates after Burnley win

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard still has plans for striker Ollie Watkins, says journalist Pete O’Rourke.

The England international continues to be linked with a move to West Ham, but O’Rourke thinks the Villans will be reluctant to let him go.

What is the latest news involving Watkins?

The MailOnline reported at the end of May that Watkins is one name West Ham manager David Moyes is currently considering.

However, according to the same outlet, a deal this summer will be difficult to do.

The above comes after The Guardian claimed that the 26-year-old could cost the Hammers up to £50m if he were to leave Villa Park in the upcoming transfer window.

Watkins finished the 2021/22 season with 11 goals in 35 league appearances, three less than his tally from the campaign prior.

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What has O’Rourke said about Watkins and Villa?

O’Rourke does not think Villa will want to sell Watkins to West Ham, because Gerrard is still likely to have plans for the former Brentford man.

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the journalist said: “I’m sure Ollie Watkins would be a great fit for them, but I’m sure Aston Villa would loathe to lose him because I think Steven Gerrard still has plans for him in his team.”

Will Watkins still be Villa’s first-choice No.9 next season?

Last month, reports from Spain suggested that Villa could make a move for Luis Suarez, who is leaving Atletico Madrid as a free agent.

However, since then, BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty has refuted those claims and has said that the ex-Liverpool striker will not be reuniting with Gerrard at Villa Park.

While the Uruguay international is not getting any younger, a striker of his profile is only recruited to play games, so Watkins’ spot in the team could have easily been in danger had he arrived.

With Suarez seemingly off the table now, Watkins’ place looks unsafe unless Villa move for another big-name No.9.

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As of now, there has not been too many links to players in that position, so it would not be a surprise if his competition for the 2022/23 season was Danny Ings and no one else.

And to his credit, Watkins probably did enough in the campaign that has just gone to at least start the new term as Villa’s No.1 striker.

That being said, looking at how aggressive Gerrard has been in the market since he arrived at the club, if an opportunity to upgrade on Watkins presents itself, he probably takes it.

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