Liverpool: Slot to ‘launch bid’ for Nunez ‘replacement’ from Premier League rivals

Joe Williams
Liverpool transfer target Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins has been linked with a move to Liverpool in the summer.

New Liverpool boss Arne Slot wants the Reds to launch a bid for Ollie Watkins at Premier League rivals Aston Villa, according to reports.

Darwin Nunez has not been the clinical striker they had hoped for when they paid Benfica £85m for the Uruguay international’s services.

Nunez scored 18 goals in 54 matches for Liverpool in all competitions this season, which a similar scoring rate to the 15 goals in 42 appearances he managed in the previous campaign.

And now The Sun – who have a poor relationship with the Reds – claim that Aston Villa are ‘braced for new ­Liverpool boss Arne Slot to launch a bid for Ollie Watkins’.

Watkins contributed 23 goals and 13 assists in 47 appearances in all competitions for Villa last term and he ‘is admired by Dutchman Slot and Villa face a battle to keep the 28-year-old’.

But Aston Villa legend Gabby Agbonlahor is “not worried one bit” by the reports as he doubts Unai Emery’s side will sell him this summer.

When asked about Liverpool’s reported interest in Watkins, Agbonlahor replied on talkSPORT: “Not worried one bit.

“You’re going to hear these rumours because of how well he’s done. He’s ‘Mr Reliable’ and his injury record is outstanding. He doesn’t get injured. He gets out there, no matter what.

“19 Premier League goals last season… outstanding. No penalties. His finishing has got so clinical. In October, he signed a five-year deal until 2028. Aston Villa have to sell. But I would rather sell shares than give Watkins to anyone.

“He’s going to cost you £100m – and I don’t think they would sell him for £100m. Aston Villa are building. Unai Emery just signed a five-year contract.”

Agbonlahor is currently the all-time leading Premier League goalscorer at Villa Park with 73 goals to his name during his 13-year career at Aston Villa.

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And Watkins currently has 59 goals in the Premier League for Villa and Agbonlahor reckons the England international will break his record at some point in early 2025.

Agbonlahor added: “Records don’t bother me. I wasn’t a clinical striker who played for 15 years at Villa. Half of my career, I was playing left-wing in a team that was struggling in the Premier League.

“So my record should be broken. He needs 15 goals. He’ll break that by January or February. I want him to stay and I want him as a Villa striker to play for England as well. So I hope he gets minutes at the Euros.”

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