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“He has got a lot more to his game than I thought” – Michael Owen in awe of Arsenal-linked Aston Villa star

Michael Owen has lavished praise on Ollie Watkins
Michael Owen has lavished praise on Ollie Watkins

Former Liverpool and Manchester United player Michael Owen has heaped praise on Ollie Watkins as the Aston Villa forward continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal.

The Gunners are on the lookout for a new striker this summer following the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang to Barcelona in January.

Teamtalk reports that Aston Villa have given Arsenal the green light to pursue a move for Watkins, who Owen admits has surprised him.

Owen told BT Sport (via HITC):

“I mean, he has got a lot more to his game than I thought when I saw him at Brentford. He never gives defenders a minute’s peace. He can score goals, he can really rough defenders up, he holds the ball up well.”

Watkins, 26, joined Aston Villa from Brentford in 2020 for £28 million. He came with a reputation for being a goalscoring machine in the Championship.

During his time as a Bee, Watkins scored 49 goals in 143 games across all competitions.

Gerrard on the Danny Ings x Ollie Watkins partnership: “I’ve always been positive about it, in the last couple of weeks it’s worked ever so well, there’s potential for it to grow and I’m really excited about it.”#LEEAVL https://t.co/hJwU6XipkV

The forward began life at Villa Park in fine form. He scored 14 goals in 37 Premier League appearances during his first season at the club and earned a call-up to the England national team.

However, this season, Watkins hasn't quite matched up to the heights that he hit during the 2020-2021 campaign.

Ollie Watkins: “We need to look up, find some consistency & get as many wins as possible. I’m in a really good place. I feel much better after scoring couple goals. I want to keep scoring/creating goals & bringing best version of myself. I’m loving it at the moment.”#avfc #UTV https://t.co/9WsQMGyNu4

Aston Villa signed Danny Ings from Southampton for £25 million last summer. Despite the transfer, the Villans and Watkins had a poor start to the season.

The Englishman has found goalscoring opportunities hard to come by. Nevertheless, he has scored seven goals in 24 Premier League appearances so far this season, displaying his poacher instinct on numerous occasions.


Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins previously vocalized his desire to join Arsenal

Ollie Watkins was a Gunners fan growing up
Ollie Watkins was a Gunners fan growing up

Ollie Watkins has spoken about his desire to play for Arsenal in the past. He told the Sports Gazette back in 2020:

"That’s the dream, to play for Arsenal one day. But, you know, it’s a long shot."
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Watkins attributed his desire to be a Gunner to legendary striker Thierry Henry. He continued:

"I'm an Arsenal fan so Thierry Henry was my (idol) he’s unbelievable to watch. He was the idol growing up really."

Whether Watkins does make a move to the Emirates Stadium remains to be seen. However, if his impressive performances continue, the north London giants might just make their move this summer.

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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