Arteta demands Arsenal complete expensive Aston Villa signing of the one player he fears
An Aston Villa star is ‘really appreciated’ by Mikel Arteta who’s called on Arsenal to complete a summer move that’d make a dream come true, per reports.
The Gunners added vital depth to their squad in January through the arrivals of Jakub Kiwior, Jorginho and Leandro Trossard. The latter has started three of the last four league matches – two as a false nine and one on the left wing.
The Belgium international may soon be relegated back to the bench when Gabriel Jesus returns to the starting eleven. The Brazilian will lead the line, with Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka Arteta’s preferred trio in behind.
Aside from Trossard, Arteta will also be able to call upon Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson when he chops and changes. Clearly, the Spaniard has an embarrassment of riches in the final third at present.
However, that’s not stopped speculation another forward signing could be on the agenda at season’s end. Indeed, the Gunners have recently been put in the mix to land Napoli £100m+ superstar, Victor Osimhen.
However, today’s update revolves around a far more gettable and cost-effective target – Ollie Watkins.
The Aston Villa frontman, 27, is Unai Emery’s main man following Danny Ings’ January switch to West Ham.
Watkins has found the net in five of his last six league matches for Villa, though his impact cannot be measured solely in the numbers.
His tireless pressing makes him a manager’s dream and Arteta previously singled Watkins out when naming him as a “big concern” after Arsenal’s 4-2 victory over Villa on February 18.
Watkins opened the scoring in that contest inside five minutes, with Arteta saying post-match: “We were completely open and leaving the left channel to Watkins one-v-one.
“We knew that was a big concern, he’s got the quality to do that [punish Arsenal].”
Now, per Italian journalist Rudi Galetti, Arteta has liked what he’s seen from Watkins to such a degree that he’s ordered he be signed.
Galetti tweeted Watkins is on Arsenal’s shortlist of striker targets for the summer. The versatile forward is reportedly ‘really appreciated’ by the Arsenal boss who has ‘asked’ for his arrival to ‘complete’ his attacking options.
Watkins was a £28m (rising to £33m through add-ons) arrival from Brentford back in 2020. He’s hit double figures for goals in each of his previous league campaigns at Villa Park and barring disaster, should breeze past that mark once again this term. His current tally is eight.
Villa’s stance on a potential sale isn’t stated by Galetti, though given Emery’s side only recently sold Ings, it stands to reason they’d be reluctant to sell.
At the very least, they’re likely to command a sizeable increase on the fee they paid The Bees two-and-a-half years ago.
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Arsenal transfer to make Watkins dream a reality
In the event Arteta did get his wish and Watkins was signed, a move to the Emirates would be a dream come true for Watkins.
Speaking at an awards ceremony back in 2020 while on Brentford’s books, Watkins revealed it is his dream to one day play for Arsenal.
The forward described it as a “long shot” at the time, though the odds are now shortening.
“That’s the dream, to play for Arsenal one day,” said Watkins (via SportsGazette). “But, you know, it’s a long shot.
Watkins continued: “I’m an Arsenal fan so Thierry Henry was my [idol] he’s unbelievable to watch.”
“He was the idol growing up really.”
READ MORE: Arsenal accelerate Real Madrid transfer plan by contacting thrilling target they can rescue from ‘danger’
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