By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

3rd Oct, 2023 | 8:10am

Dan Bardell urges Aston Villa to renew contract of 'Brilliant' Ollie Watkins

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports journalist Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

Aston Villa must tie down Ollie Watkins to a new deal to keep interest away from the forward, according to Dan Bardell.

Watkins has become one of the Premier League’s finest strikers, and his hattrick against Brighton on Saturday (30 September) showed that he is still at the top of his game and is able to compete with Villa’s new-look front line.

BBC Sport reported (27 September) that the club were in talks with the England international over a new long-term contract, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2025.

While Bardell expects the 27-year-old to commit his future to Villa on improved terms, but urged the club to get it done as many other Premier League clubs “would kill” to have Watkins in their side.

Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Bardell said: “It’s important for both parties in all honesty. It gives Watkins a bit of security and it gives the club security as well if they went to sell him, for example.

“Watkins is brilliant. He contributes so much to the team even when he’s not scoring. We’re very, very lucky to have him. There are a lot of teams in the Premier League that would kill to have a striker like him.

“He’s developed at Villa well. The club has grown in the last three or four years, and Watkins has grown with them. Having a better contract and bigger money is fair, as he’ll know there’ll be interest in him. He’s right to ask for money and there are players at the club who produce less but get paid more.

“He’s earned the right to want to be one of the top earners. I really hope they tie him down. I would expect him to sign the contract and I would expect him to be Villa’s number one for the foreseeable future.”

In other Aston Villa news, a Sky Sports journalist has urged Emery to keep a ‘high profile’ Aston Villa player away from B6 this season.