sportopinion

Why Brentford is a better move than Leeds, Aston Villa, Reading and Bristol City for Ollie Watkins

Opinion: Griffin Park the best place for hot prospect to push on

Brentford face a battle to sign Ollie Watkins with the likes of Reading, Leeds, Aston Villa and Bristol City all interested.

The forward is one of the best talents in the lower divisions and, with the coaching the west Londoners can offer him, can develop into a fine player.

With Exeter losing in the League Two play-off final, Watkins appears likely to leave Devon and a host of Championship clubs are interested.

The Bees may be seen as outsiders but, while they obviously fall short in the wages they can offer, the west Londoners do have advantages over their rival suitors.

The first of these is that Brentford have become renowned as a developer of talent. You only have to look at the careers of Andre Gray and Scott Hogan to prove that the Bees can take a player from the lower divisions and improve them.

Ollie Watkins

With respect to the likes of Reading, Leeds, Bristol City and Aston Villa, they have not shown themselves as a club that can harness potential from the lower divisions in the past few seasons.

The second reason is that Watkins is more likely to get regular football at Griffin Park.

Aston Villa, for instance, have Scott Hogan up front while Leeds relied on Chris Wood's goals last season. Bristol City signed Famara Diedhiou for £5.3m earlier this summer. Reading lack firepower but their style of football does not suit Watkins' ability.

Brentford have Lasse Vibe up front which means that Watkins could be forced into a wider position but, with the Bees looking to attack down the flanks, that role could suit him.

The third reason is the fact that Brentford have been long-time admirers of Watkins, having been interested in signing him last summer.

Target: Ollie Watkins(Image: Harry Trump/Getty Images)

While it may not be a major factor, Watkins will know that the Bees aren't just courting him because of his performances last season.

That can play a part as hot prospects have made the wrong move and found themselves lost in the wilderness.

All four clubs have ambitions of being promoted to the Premier League but you get the sense that Leeds, Villa and the Robins are prepared to throw money at it to try and make it there and are then likely to do the same to try and survive the following season.

Brentford won't do that though. They have the building blocks in place and Watkins could be the additional joker that can fire the Bees towards promotion.

View full mobile page