Man Utd, Barcelona learn £60m would ‘close’ signing as ‘determined’ Ratcliffe eyes Prem star

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd transfer
Aston Villa pair Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins.

According to reports, Manchester United are battling FC Barcelona in the race to sign England international Ollie Watkins from Aston Villa.

Watkins is arguably the player who has benefitted most from Unai Emery joining Aston Villa as the forward has been sensational for the Premier League outfit this season.

The 28-year-old has become the all-around package as he’s grabbed 27 goals and 13 assists in his 52 appearances across all competitions.

His performances have helped Aston Villa secure Champions League football ahead of next season, but it has been suggested that he could leave the Premier League outfit before next season.

Watkins to Man Utd?

Several elite European clubs are going to be in the market for a new striker in the summer and Watkins’ emergence makes him an attractive option for various clubs.

Earlier this week, it was claimed that Man Utd are planning to submit an ‘audacious bid’ to Aston Villa for Watkins in the summer.

Man Utd invested an initial fee of around £64m to sign Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta last summer but they are still short in that area of the pitch and a new signing is required as part of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s huge Old Trafford overhaul ahead of next season.

Ex-United defender Paul Parker recently explain why his former club should prioritise signing Watkins over Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

“If you are going to bring in another player to give competition to Hojlund, in my opinion, it’s not going to be Ivan Toney. It’s going to be somebody of more note than Ivan Toney,” Parker said.

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“You’d say the same about Ivan Toney working with somebody of note. He hasn’t had enough points on the board as a Premier League striker to be in the position of having an understudy, in my opinion.

“Does Ivan Toney play as a centre-forward? Not really. He’s trying to play more like a Harry Kane in that sense.

“If you’re going to bring a centre-forward in and you’re going to keep him UK based, in my opinion you bring in Watkins. But he’s going to cost you £100 million and deservedly at that. Ivan Toney, £25-30 million, but Watkins has proven his worth every time.”

According to reports in Spain, Barcelona are eyeing Watkins as a potential replacement for Robert Lewandowski as they are ‘very worried’ about his performances. Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak are also mentioned as options.

Regarding Watkins, Barcelona are said to have ‘asked about the cost’ of a deal and were told that it ‘would be close to 70 million euros (£60m)’. The report adds.

‘Barça will have competition to close the arrival of Watkins, which is the solution that Laporta has identified to end the lack of aim that Lewandowski has shown this season.

‘And Manchester United is also determined to bet on the 28-year-old, and they are preparing an offensive to get him out of Birmingham. They are starting arrangements to close the arrival’.

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