By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

16th Jun, 2023 | 6:50pm

We’re delighted to welcome former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Villa Park… 

Alan Hutton has no worries about Ollie Watkins’ contract talks at Aston Villa but admits the striker could be looking to get certain clauses put into his deal.

It’s been over six weeks since The Athletic reported on 1 May that Villa have opened contract talks with the 27-year-old forward, who scored 15 goals in 37 Premier League games last season.

Watkins’ existing terms at Villa Park expire in two years’ time so if a fresh deal isn’t sorted out in the next 12 months, the club could be in a situation where they’re being forced to sell the England international.

Hutton believes fans must remain patient but does admit that Watkins and his representatives could be trying to agree a release clause that would enable him to join a top-four Premier League team if one comes in for him in the future.

“These things take time,” Hutton told Villa News.

“We’re talking about your main striker at the football club so you want to make sure everything’s right. And I’m sure from Watkins’ side as well, he’s maybe looking for the right things to be put into the contract. Whether it be things like if a team comes in down the line, like a top-four team, or how it may be structured, it doesn’t happen overnight.

Personally, I’m not worried and I’d be more worried if there was more speculation about clubs being in for him. Obviously, his contract’s not been signed and then you start to worry a little bit as a fan. But these negotiations take time and I know it’ll get done. I know they’re also talking to John McGinn so it needs time.

What’s probably happening is that everything’s progressing and you just don’t know because it’s not out in the public domain. It’s more like, ‘when it’s done, we’ll let you know’.”

Watkins finished the season with just one goal in seven games but prior to that, he went on a crazy run of netting 11 times in 12 Premier League appearances.

Between 21 January and 22 April, Watkins failed to score in just two league fixtures.

He has been loosely linked with a shock move to Bayern Munich with The Mirror reporting on 29 April that the Bundesliga champions have the ex-Brentford star in their sights.

In other Aston Villa news, the club has been backed to complete a £42million-plus transfer for an “outstanding” European player.