Arsenal hold Ollie Watkins transfer advantage after striker's admission

Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa vs Arsenal in the Premier League
Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa vs Arsenal in the Premier League -Credit:Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta could use Ollie Watkins' childhood allegiance to Arsenal as a trump card in securing the Aston Villa star's transfer.

The former Brentford and Exeter striker, who has been in sensational form this season with 26 goals in all competitions, admitted his Gunners fandom after scoring in Villa's recent 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "I used to [support Arsenal]. I grew up supporting Arsenal but it's a different story now playing against them. Not too much to say really."

This isn't the first time Watkins has revealed his past loyalty though. Back in 2020, during his Brentford days, he expressed his dream of playing for Arsenal one day.

"That's the dream, to play for Arsenal one day. But, you know, it's a long shot," Watkins confessed. "I'm an Arsenal fan so Thierry Henry was my [idol] he's unbelievable to watch. He was the idol growing up really."

With Arsenal already linked to Watkins ahead of the summer window, former Gunner Theo Walcott is among those advocating for his move to north London, reports the Mirror.

READ MORE: Arsenal tipped to sanction 'next Henry' transfer

READ MORE: Watkins sends Spurs message following Villa win

Walcott explained: "I feel he is the sort of player that Arsenal would look at. What I really like about Ollie Watkins is that you look at his style and you think he is a winger.

"He reminds me, and it's one of the best compliments I am going to give him, but he reminds me of Thierry Henry. Against Arsenal he played out on the left a lot. He wanted to be a forward but drifted out on the left he's such a threat on the counter.

"He is playing at the top of his game and it would be refreshing to see if he stays at the club. There were warning signs [for Arsenal] when he hit the post.

"I feel like, when he goes through, he is going to score, that's how confident he is playing right now. I'm pretty sure there will be a lot of teams sniffing around for Ollie Watkins right now. He is very different."

Watkins still has over four years remaining on his current contract at Villa Park. He will be aiming to extend his hot form in Thursday evening's Europa Conference League quarter-final clash with Lille.