Liverpool continue to search for attacking reinforcements with the new season just around the corner. Despite having no luck so far the club may have received a big boost in their chase for their ‘perfect’ striker.
Ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings has just confirmed a £30 million move to Aston Villa. Not only will Liverpool be pleased that they receive a portion of the transfer fee, it also clears the path for the club to pursue the signing of Ollie Watkins.
Watkins has earned many plaudits in his debut Premier League season including Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who wasn’t too bad himself. Fowler has encouraged Liverpool’s move for the Englishman as he believes he is the ideal fit.
He told The Athletic: “I like Ollie Watkins at Villa.
“When you start delving into how Liverpool play and how they press, his stats are perfect.
“He scores goals and his work rate is spot on. He looks like a Klopp player to me.
“Of course Villa wouldn’t want to lose him and he wouldn’t come cheap but he’s done very well since arriving from Brentford.”
Watkins is the perfect fit
Watkins joined Aston Villa last summer for a then club-record fee of £28 million. Despite never playing in the Premier League before, the 25-year-old certainly earned his big fee.
Watkins managed 14 Premier League goals in his last campaign, including a memorable four against Liverpool. However it is his other qualities which should also demand interest from the Reds.
Watkins is a much bigger striker than Roberto Firmino which offers Liverpool a different way of playing. His has demonstrated the ability to hold up the ball and play with his back to goal, easing any defensive pressure.
His height provides an extra threat on attacking set pieces and another significant body to help defend set pieces.
Despite his extra strength and size, Watkins is also mobile. He has the pace to stretch teams and to make runs into the channels. This should provide a focal point to Liverpool’s attack which is currently missing with Firmino commonly adapting a false nine position.
Aside from his characteristics on the pitch, he also ticks an important box off it.
Liverpool can only register a maximum of 17 non-homegrown players for the Premier League next season. We currently have the full contingent of 17 non-homegrown players at the club despite a number of them being allegedly available for transfer.
As Watkins meets the homegrown criteria, Liverpool would be able to sign him without the need to sell first. Furthermore if Liverpool then sold a non-homegrown player it would allow for another to be signed before the start of the season.
Watkins should be attainable
Aston Villa have invested heavily this summer and their latest addition is Danny Ings.
Manager Dean Smith has always deployed a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation during his time in management. The one commonality is the lone striker.
Ings signing for a significant fee now makes Watkins expendable. Liverpool were reportedly interested in him earlier this summer but a move would have likely been too expensive.
However Aston Villa has no European football and game time will be limited. They will therefore be mindful that the fee they can currently command for Watkins may decline throughout the course of the season.
Liverpool should be able to negotiate a reasonable fee providing Aston Villa and Watkins with the best outcome possible.
Watkins is a quality player who should now be attainable. If there is a possibility of his departure then Liverpool should certainly be one of the first clubs who act on their interest.