Aston Villa: £75k-a-week star could be 'replaced' at Villa Park

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard

Aston Villa could now sign a striker this summer due to manager Steven Gerrard holding reservations over the credentials of Ollie Watkins, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Gerrard has overseen a busy transfer window at Villa Park but there could still be business to be done ahead of the deadline on September 1.

What is the latest on Watkins?

The 26-year-old was signed from Brentford in the summer of 2020 for £30 million following Villa’s promotion back to the Premier League.

In the time since he has found the back of the net 27 times in 77 appearances, taking his career goals tally to 102.

In 2021-22, Watkins found the back of the net 11 times in 35 appearances in what was another season of mixed fortunes for the Villains. Nine of those strikes came after Gerrard had replaced Dean Smith in the dugout.

However, the opening day of the new season saw the £75,000 per-week star benched by the Liverpool legend. With the West Midlands giants trailing at half-time, he was introduced but could not prevent a 2-0 defeat to newly promoted Bournemouth.

Now it appears his days at the club could well be numbered, with Football Insider reporting Gerrard could look elsewhere.

What has Jones said on Watkins?

Jones understands that it has become increasingly clear to those around the club that Gerrard has reservations about the seven-cap England international’s ability to lead the line.

As a result, the transfer insider says it would not be a surprise if Watkins were to be replaced before the summer deadline passes.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “It’s an interesting story and one thing that has become clear to people close to Villa over the course of this year is that Gerrard has some reservations about Watkins, so it would not be a surprise to see him replaced.”

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Who have Aston Villa signed so far this summer?

It has been a busy transfer window for the club, with five new faces arriving at Villa Park so far. Diego Carlos, Robin Olsen, Philippe Coutinho and Boubacar Kamara have all signed permanent deals while Ludwig Augustinsson has joined on loan from Sevilla.

Carney Chukwuemeka and Matt Targett have left for a combined £35 million, perhaps providing crucial funds to bring in a replacement for Watkins.

With the forward joining for such a large fee two years ago, it remains to be seen whether Villa will look to sell the marksman to bolster their funds further or simply freeze him out.

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