Ollie Watkins message to Mikel Arteta about his dream Arsenal transfer.
Arsenal are in the market for a striker and Ollie Watkins has sent a clear message that he could be the ideal candidate for Mikel Arteta. The Aston Villa star is shining for club and country and has not hidden his desire to one day play for the Gunners.
One slight often thrown at Arsenal is that they lack a top-class goalscoring striker. Gabriel Jesus is a fantastic footballer but doesn’t get the numbers Arteta needs from a frontman.
The Brazilian has scored just one Premier League goal so far this season. Injuries have again restricted his minutes on the pitch, as they did last term where he scored 11 times in 26 games.
Jesus has never been prolific, with his best goalscoring campaign in the league being the 2019/20 season where he scored 14 times for Manchester City. Eddie Nketiah doesn’t seem to be the answer either.
He hasn’t started a league match in over a month, despite being the club’s joint-top goalscorer in the competition with five goals. Arteta appears to be looking elsewhere for an answer and Watkins could be the man.
Watkins has been in the form of his life at Villa since Unai Emery replaced the sacked Steven Gerrard last year. Last season was his best in the Premier League, scoring 15 times and also registering six assists.
He already looks on course to beat that record this term, with Sunday’s strike at Bournemouth his eighth of the season to go with another six assists. Watkins is proving last year was definitely not a one-off and has earned recognition for that at international level.
With Ivan Toney banned and Callum Wilson out through injury, Watkins has pushed his case to be England’s second-choice striker behind Harry Kane. That wasn’t the case as recently as August.
Southgate picked Nketiah over Watkins in his squad for the matches against Ukraine and Scotland. Since then, Watkins has taken his game to the next level, while Nketiah has fallen out of favour for club and country.
Convincing Villa to sell Watkins would take a lot. He only signed a new five-year contract in October.
But if Arsenal can strike a deal, it may not take Watkins much persuading to make the move. He has previously stated it would be a dream for him to join the Gunners.
He said while at Brentford in 2020: “That’s the dream, to play for Arsenal one day. But, you know, it’s a long shot.
“I’m an Arsenal fan so Thierry Henry was my [idol]. He’s unbelievable to watch. He was the idol growing up really.”
Turning 28 later this month, it appears Watkins is entering the prime years of his career. Arsenal are so close to regularly competing for major honours and Watkins has sent a message to Arteta that he could be the final piece in the jigsaw.