Liverpool’s work in the transfer window has been limited to a defender so far, but a new forward is on the wishlist and they like Aston Villa’s top scorer Ollie Watkins.
Watkins has just one Premier League campaign under his belt having swapped Brentford for Aston Villa last summer, where he went on to make 40 appearances in all competitions with a return of 16 goals and five assists.
The 25-year-old certainly made an impression as by season’s end he was named in Gareth Southgate’s 33-man preliminary England squad for the Euros.
He would ultimately miss out, but it capped off a breakthrough season for the forward who now has three senior England caps to his name and a maiden goal.
And Goal‘s Neil Jones has name-checked Watkins as one of four forwards the Reds have shown a liking to, with a new attacking spark needed.
Leicester’s Harvey Barnes, Wolves’ Pedro Neto and Watford‘s Ismaila Sarr are all listed, but the price-tag for the former, a long-term injury to Neto and waned interest for the latter are the caveats to taking it any further than just admiration at this stage.
Leeds’ Raphinha, meanwhile, has been widely reported as a target but Jones goes on to say that there is “nothing in those suggestions.”
Links to the Aston Villa man, meanwhile, had been swirling around previously and the Reds saw Watkins up close and personal last season having been on the receiving end of four goals and one assist off his boot in two games.
And Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for the 25-year-old ahead of the Anfield meeting back in April, saying, “Ollie is a really, really talented striker.
“Obviously the manager knew him from before and it was a really good signing. The whole Brentford attacking line was exceptional in the Championship season before.
“So that suits really well, he’s physically strong so he can keep the ball, he can jump high, he is very fast – that’s a good package. Nobody has to remind me how good he is.”
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool’s admiration could turn into concrete interest, but in an ideal world, a forward would be added to the ranks alongside a midfielder this summer.
Watkins would not come on the cheap, with Villa having paid out £33 million only last summer, and as Jones stressed once more, incomings will be “dependant on the club’s ability to raise funds through the sale of fringe and loan players.”
With Divock Origi to be allowed to depart and openness to offers for Xherdan Shaqiri and Takumi Minamino, a quality addition looks much-needed to bolster the forward line after what was a turbulent year in front of goal.