Arsenal director Edu is in negotiations with Ollie Watkins’ agent Paulo Vernazza over a possible move in the January transfer window, according to Football Transfers.
The report claims that the Gunners are in close contact with former player Vernazza – who owns the agency Two Touch that represents the Aston Villa striker – to see if a deal can be done this winter.
Football Transfers claims that Chelsea are also interested in signing the England international as their search for a striker continues, but it looks like Arsenal have stolen a march on their rivals.
Aston Villa are reluctant to lose Watkins and are desperately trying to tie him down to a new contract to fend off interest from rival clubs, which could make a move in January difficult.
However, the report says Watkins is demanding a five-year deal worth £150,000-a-week and is yet to agree terms with the Villains, despite talks between the two parties lasting for almost a year.
The 27-year-old has less than two years left on his existing contract so Villa are under pressure to agree a new deal or cash in before his value drops. The situation has alerted Arsenal and Chelsea, with both London clubs in the market for a new striker.
Watkins has forged a reputation as one of the best centre-forwards in the Premier League for the past few seasons. During his time at Brentford, he racked up 143 appearances, scored 49 times, and provided 17 assists across all competitions.
He has maintained his impressive form since moving to Villa Park, where he has netted 47 goals and registered 15 assists in 125 games in all competitions. Last season, the Englishman was one of the standout players for Emery’s outfit as he helped the club secure UEFA Europa Conference League qualification.
He made 40 appearances, scored 16 goals, and recorded six assists as they finished 7th in the Premier League table. Watkins has already banged in four goals and recorded two assists in nine games for Villa this season.
The England forward scored his side’s only goal as they defeated Chelsea 1-0 in the league on Sunday at Stamford Bridge. He is valued at £35m by Transfermarkt but it remains to be seen how much Villa would want if they were to sell in January.