Arsenal ‘in negotiations’ with Chelsea target’s agent as Arteta ‘favours’ Villa man over £60m star

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal target Watkins
Aston Villa pair Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins.

According to reports, Arsenal are ‘in negotiations’ with the agent of Aston Villa and England forward Ollie Watkins ahead of the January transfer window.

It is being reported that Arsenal are planning to sign a new striker during the upcoming winter transfer window.

Arsenal sold Folarin Balogun during the summer but they still have Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Kai Havertz who are capable of playing up front.

The Gunners are arguably lacking a clinical forward, though. It has been indicated in recent days that they will be in the race to sign Brentford’s Ivan Toney, who is expected to be sold for around £60m in January.

Toney scored 20 goals in 33 Premier League appearances last season but he is currently unavailable after being banned for his breaches of the Football Association’s betting regulations.

The forward recently returned to training but he is unable to play for Brentford (or anyone else) until the start of January.

Chelsea and Tottenham could also be in the race to sign Toney, who may have already played his last game for the Bees.

Watkins is also going to be on the radar of rival Premier League clubs as he continues to impress under Unai Emery for Aston Villa. The 27-year-old finished last season with 15 goals and he has three goal involvements in six games this term.

Football Transfers are reporting that ‘Arsenal director Edu has engaged in discussions with agent Paulo Vernazza over a possible move for Watkins’.

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Vernazza – who used to play for Arsenal – is seeing ‘if a deal can be done’ but Chelsea are ‘also keen’ to sign Watkins. The report adds.

‘Both Mikel Arteta and Watkins have publicly acknowledged their mutual admiration for each other in the media, with the player even being a self-proclaimed Arsenal fan.

‘Sources close to the matter suggest that securing Watkins in the January transfer window could prove challenging but not entirely impossible, as his current side has been attempting to negotiate a new contract with their star player for over a year. We are told Watkins is seeking a five-year contract with a wage demand exceeding £150,000 per week.

‘Arsenal are fans of Ivan Toney, along with Chelsea, but there is a notion that the club would rather secure the services of a game-ready Watkins.’

A source ‘connected’ to Arsenal has also explained why Arteta would ‘prefer’ Watkins over Toney: “There are doubts within the club that Ivan Toney would fit into the Arsenal way. Arteta typically favours players with a disciplined and clean-cut image. Arteta has had previous disagreements with Toney and is concerned about his current situation.

“Of course, there are examples like Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who were swiftly moved on due to attitude issues, that come to mind. Additionally, Arteta is wary of the risk associated with paying £60 million for a player midway through the season who may not be match-fit. Ultimately, it may hinge on Watkins’ contract negotiations.”

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