Former Derby County transfer target Ollie Watkins is impressing at Brentford and Sky Sports claim the Bees want £25 million for him amid Premier League interest.
Derby were linked with Watkins in January 2017. However, the Rams failed to secure a deal for the forward and instead signed David Nugent for an initial £2.5 million fee.
Watkins later joined Brentford from Exeter for £1.8 million in the summer of 2017.
Speaking after Brentford’s 3-0 win over Derby at Griffin Park in September, Watkins was quoted by Derbyshire Live as stating how close he was to joining the Rams.
Yeah, really close – in the January transfer window. Steve McClaren wanted to sign me, and I wanted to go there at the time. Then it kind of fell through – so it could have been a lot different! I could have been a Derby player but I stayed at Exeter and things worked out for the better here at Brentford. It was just down to money, I think. Exeter wanted a little bit more money at the time, and a loan back, because we were doing well and ended up getting to the (League Two) play-off final that year.
The decision not to sign Watkins now appears a foolish one.
Watkins has gone on to star at Championship rivals Brentford. Starting out as a wide player, he now features as a centre-forward after Neal Maupay’s exit in the summer.
The 23-year-old has hit doubles figures in goals for three straight years. This season, however, is his best yet as he already netted 13 times in 22 league games.
Sky Sports claim Crystal Palace and Sheffield United are keen on him. Brentford, however, will reportedly only sell him if clubs match their £25 million asking price.
Derby, meanwhile, are struggling. The Rams have scored just 21 Championship goals in 22 games. Martyn Waghorn is the leading scorer with six strikes.
How manager Phillip Cocu could do with a player of Watkins’ ability right now.
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