West Ham believe they have a strong chance of landing Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins as Steven Gerrard plans an overhaul of his squad this summer.
Watkins is a prominent target for the Hammers after two useful campaigns with Villa.
The 26-year-old, signed for £33million from Brentford in summer 2020, scored 14 goals in his first campaign in the Premier League and has 10 so far this term.
He has also broken into the England squad during his time at Villa Park, winning seven caps and scoring twice.
West Ham believe they have a strong chance of landing Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins
David Moyes’ Hammers are targeting European football for the second successive campaign
Villa would be looking for a substantial profit if they were to sell Watkins but with Gerrard keen to improve his attacking options, he may not be out of reach for West Ham, especially with David Moyes’ side targeting European football for the second successive campaign.
Watkins is a versatile striker who can play either as a lone forward, as part of an attacking pair or wide. He has been used in all those roles since Gerrard replaced Dean Smith as Villa boss last November, with varying degrees of success.
Gerrard will receive backing from Villa’s billionaire owners to make significant moves in the transfer market this summer. The club are working on a deal to turn Philippe Coutinho’s loan move from Barcelona into a permanent transfer, while Gerrard has also prioritised a holding midfielder and a centre back.
Steven Gerrard will receive backing from Villa’s billionaire owners to make significant moves
The club are working on a deal to turn Philippe Coutinho’s loan move from Barcelona into a permanent transfer
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that Villa had made an offer of £12m for the former Liverpool star, significantly lower than the set £33m fee that was agreed when Coutinho signed from Barcelona on loan in January.
And Spanish sources have told Sportsmail that an agreement between Villa and Barcelona is now ‘close’.
Barcelona are willing to take a financial hit to move the Brazilian’s sizeable salary off their books.
Meanwhile, Leeds star Kalvin Phillips is also high on Villa’s list of targets, especially if the England international is relegated this season, while Brighton rejected a £25m bid for Yves Bissouma in January. Gerrard also watched Marseille defender Duje Caleta-Car in action earlier last month.
Kalvin Phillips (left) is also high on Villa’s list of targets, while Brighton rejected a £25m bid for Yves Bissouma (right) in January