Aston Villa complete stunning £33m signing of Ollie Watkins from Brentford as boss Dean Smith makes him the most-expensive signing from the Championship EVER
- Ollie Watkins scored 26 goals for Brentford in the Championship last season
- The 24-year-old joins up with his former boss Dean Smith in the Premier League
- The £33m move will see Watkins’ former club Exeter get a £4m cash windfall
Aston Villa have announced the signing of striker Ollie Watkins from Brentford in a deal worth a staggering £33m.
Watkins fired 26 goals for Brentford in the Championship last season as they reached the play-off final and has penned a five-year contract at Villa Park.
The 24-year-old played under Villa boss Dean Smith when he was Brentford boss.
Aston Villa have announced the signing of striker Ollie Watkins from Brentford
‘Ollie has developed into one of the most sought-after strikers in the country and we are looking forward to seeing him show his great qualities in an Aston Villa shirt,’ Smith said.
‘He is a hugely determined character who has both the ability and personality to succeed at the highest level.’
Watkins underlined his excitement at working with Smith again, saying: ‘ I am so excited to join Aston Villa and to reunite with Dean Smith. I cannot wait to wear the famous claret and blue in the Premier League.
‘I want to do something special here and score some goals. Dean sold it to me, really. I’m definitely excited to get back working with Dean, I’m really looking forward to it.
The 24-year-old Watkins fired home 26 goals for Brentford in the Championship last season
TOP FIVE MOST EXPENSIVE CHAMPIONSHIP SIGNINGS
Nathan Ake: £40m
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Moussa Sissoko: £30m
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Jordan Pickford: £25m
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Georgino Wijnaldum: £24m
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Ryan Sessegnon: £24m
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‘He sold it to me as soon as I met him. I told my agent I really want to get that sorted as soon as I heard they were interested.
‘I’m looking forward to working with him and Rich (O’Kelly), they gave me a lot of confidence playing under them at Brentford.
‘Hopefully they can do that again now.’
Smith has been desperate to sign a striker ever since Brazilian forward Wesley sustained a serious knee injury at Burnley on New Year’s Day.
Mbwana Samatta was signed from Genk for £8.5m that January, but the Tanzanian forward managed only two goals in the second half of the campaign.
Villa were also interested in Callum Wilson but were beaten by their Premier League rivals Newcastle to the signature of the former Bournemouth striker.
Villa have also been linked with a move for Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster. Loan terms were initially mooted but recent reports suggest Liverpool may now sell the 20-year-old and include a buy-back clause.
Remarkably, the Watkins transfer brings a cash windfall to League Two side Exeter, who sold Watkins to Brentford in 2017 with a 15 per cent sell-on clause.
It means the club are now set to receive around £4m.
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