Manchester United could explore a move for Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins amid their limited budget for the summer transfer window, The Athletic report.
The Red Devils were initially interested in signing Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur this summer, but have ended their interest due to the high costs involved.
United are also reluctant to enter into prolonged negotiations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, and they are now looking at alternative options in the transfer market.
Rasmus Hojlund has regularly been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent days, but The Athletic claim that a deal is unlikely due to the hefty price tag.
Atalanta have told the player’s representatives that he would cost £85 million. United have no plans of paying such a figure for an unproven young striker.
Amidst this, it is claimed that United hold an interest in Villa star Watkins, and they have watched him closely.
The 27-year-old was in fantastic form for Villa in the back end of last season, and ended the campaign with 16 goals and six assists in all competitions.
He currently has two years left on his contract, but talks are underway over a new long-term deal.
Villa won’t give up on Watkins easily
The England international was one of the best strikers in the Premier League following the World Cup.
He contributed 13 goals and three assists in 23 outings. The former Brentford man was crucial to Villa’s superb run as they finished seventh in the standings.
With this in mind, Villa are unlikely to let him go on the cheap this summer. With two years left in his deal, they have room to negotiate over the asking price.
Watkins is currently valued at £27 million, as per Transfermarkt, but the Midlands outfit could easily demand £50-60m to part ways with their prized asset.
Erik ten Hag could be looking for a proven Premier League striker, but the big question is whether United would make such a huge outlay on Watkins’ services.
The 27-year-old has hit double figures in terms of top-flight goals for three successive seasons, but has not netted more than 15 times over a single campaign.
United need a more reliable figure up front if they want to be challenging for the league title next term.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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