By Villa News Speaking to Alan Hutton

24th Sep, 2023 | 9:10am

Aston Villa worry about Ollie Watkins quitting Villa Park in January amid fresh speculation

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…

Aston Villa will be worried about losing Ollie Watkins – as well as other key players – in January, according to Alan Hutton.

Watkins, 27, hasn’t quite hit the heights of last season in the opening months of this new campaign but the striker’s stock is high and earlier this year, he was linked with moves to Manchester United [The Athletic] and Bayern Munich [Mirror].

The Athletic reported on 1 May that contract talks had opened with Watkins because the centre-forward’s existing deal expires at the end of next season.

However, updates have been few and far between until on Wednesday (20 September), The Athletic claimed that it’s expected Watkins will agree on a new deal next after fresh terms were agreed with defender Ezri Konsa.

When asked by Villa News if he thinks Watkins could be holding out on signing a new contract to see what could crop up for him in January, Hutton said: “I think that worry is always there for all your top players.

They’re not necessarily running their contract down but if it has got to the stage where they’re down to the last year or two, then you start to say, ‘what’s going on, this player needs tying down’.

You never know what they’re thinking so it’s kind of hard to think about it.

But for me, as a Villa supporter, I’d love to see Watkins sign a long-term deal. I think he gives you something extra up front.”

Watkins scored 15 goals and supplied six assists in 37 Premier League appearances for Aston Villa last season.

He’s yet to score in the league so far this term but the ex-Brentford man has still assisted two goals and also scored a hat-trick against Hibernian in the Europa Conference League qualifiers.

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