Lange must sanction £25m Villa swoop for target Smith claims is a “hell of a player” – opinion

Aston Villa could land themselves a new striker during the summer window and it’ll be a familiar name to manager Dean Smith.

What’s the word?

According to the Express & Star, the Midlands outfit are among the admirers of Brentford talisman Ollie Watkins along with Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Sheffield United.

It’s claimed that the 24-year-old marksman is the club’s primary transfer target this off-season as Smith looks to address their striking issues.

Watkins could cost the club around £25m if reports are to be believed.

£25m steal

The Bees forward has enjoyed another prolific season in west London, notching 26 goals in all competitions and after losing out in the playoff final to Fulham, he could demand a move to the top-flight.

Smith, of course, knows him very well having originally signed the 5 foot 11 star from Exeter City back in 2017.

Originally he joined as a winger that could play behind the striker but he’s come on leaps and bounds as a centre-forward in recent seasons.

Former Hammers legend Trevor Sinclair believes Watkins is similar to ex-Spurs man Jermain Defoe whilst his current boss Thomas Frank called him “amazing” and that “he’s a pleasure to work with in terms of his determination and his desire.”

Villa have rued their recent transfer dealings – club-record man Wesley could only provide five goals before a suffering a long-term injury whilst his January replacement Mbwana Samatta has scored just once. That’s over £30m wasted.

Smith could well reunite with the signing he once dubbed as a “hell of a player” and it would certainly help alleviate one of their biggest problems.

At just £25m, that’s a steal considering what the club has paid above. It would be one exciting way to kickstart Johan Lange’s era at Villa Park.

AND in other news, Villa could have saved millions by signing two stars last summer…