Aston Villa are plotting a move for striker Ollie Watkins after Brentford failed to seal promotion… with the Championship side also facing a battle to keep Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo
- Brentford are expecting bids for their ‘BMW’ forwards after missing promotion
- Aston Villa want to sign Ollie Watkins, who scored 26 goals this campaign
- Said Benrahma is also a target for the Midlands side after a stellar season
- Meanwhile, Bryan Mbeumo should have plenty of suitors after scoring 15 goals
Brentford are determined to hang onto their prized assets and launch another promotion push next season after their play-off final agony against Fulham.
But 24-year-old Watkins, who scored 26 goals this season, is a top target for Villa and Crystal Palace this summer.
Aston Villa are keen on Brentford striker Ollie Watkins as they seek more goals next season
Talented winger Said Benrahma, who added 17 goals and set up nine more in 2019-20, also has a big admirer in Villa boss Dean Smith. The Algerian is considered the most likely to depart, keen for a swift resolution to his future and open to a move.
Bryan Mbeumo — the youngest of the ‘BMW’ trio at 20 — netted 15 goals this season and is sure to be the subject of interest. While left back Rico Henry, 23, is being chased by a string of top-flight clubs including Brighton, West Ham and newly-promoted duo Leeds and West Brom.
Brentford believe they can go up next season if they retain as much of the squad that got them to within touching distance of a first season in the Premier League.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith (L) is also interested in Said Benrahma (R) after an impressive year
But manager Thomas Frank admitted before the final that it is ‘likely’ that one of his star men will leave this summer.
Brentford feel they are in a strong position to, at worst, command big fees should any of their players’ suitors firm up their interest.
Watkins and Henry are both on deals that run until 2023. It is unclear whether Watkins’ contract contains a buyout clause, with Brentford denying this to be the case.
There should also be plenty of suitors for Bryan Mbuemo, who scored 15 Championship goals
Watkins’s includes a further 12-month option for Brentford. Benrahma’s current contract expires in 2022 but also contains a year option for Brentford.
Brentford are renowned for their clever recruitment and had already begun working on contingency plans in case they needed to replace any of their key players.
A new striker, left-sided attacker and left back, all capable of being starters, were among the positions they were looking to fill this summer even before their promotion fate was known.