Arne Slot eye Aston Villa's goal machine as Nunez replacement, bid expected

Arne Slot
Arne Slot / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Aston Villa's Champions League qualification has not only brought joy to the fans but also attracted the attention of top clubs across Europe. As the summer transfer window approaches, speculation is rife about the future of one of Villa's key players.

According to The Sun, Liverpool's new manager Arne Slot, is reportedly keen on signing Aston Villa's star striker Ollie Watkins as a potential replacement for the struggling Darwin Nunez. The 28-year-old Watkins has caught the eye of the Dutch manager following his impressive 19-goal haul in the Premier League, which played a crucial role in securing Villa's Champions League spot.

Watkins' outstanding performance this season, which saw him score a career-best 27 goals in all competitions, including eight in Villa's run to the Europa Conference League semi-finals, has made him an attractive prospect for Liverpool. The England international, who recently signed a long-term contract with Villa until 2028, is also vying for a spot as Harry Kane's understudy in the upcoming European Championships in Germany.

Darwin Nunez
Darwin Nunez / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages

Liverpool's pursuit of Watkins is driven by mounting apprehension regarding the performance of their existing striker, Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan international, who has been the subject of transfer speculation linking him with a move to Barcelona, concluded the season with a tally of 11 goals and eight assists in 36 Premier League appearances, supplemented by six goals and four assists in the Europa League and EFL Cup. Nevertheless, Nunez's barren spell in front of goal over his last ten matches for the Reds has spurred Slot to explore alternative options in the transfer market.

Despite the speculation surrounding his future, Watkins has expressed his desire to continue his development at Villa Park, indicating that he feels Villa is the best place for him to play his football and that he still has a lot to achieve with the club. However, with Liverpool's interest and the allure of playing at Anfield, the striker's future remains uncertain.

Ollie Watkins, Mohamed Salah
Mo Salah and Ollie Watkins / Copa/GettyImages

Villa manager Unai Emery is already exploring potential alternatives in case Watkins departs. The club has been linked with 17-year-old Ghanaian attacker Musibau Aziz, dubbed the next Didier Drogba, but his lack of experience makes him an unlikely direct replacement for Watkins. Villa also have talented youngster Jhon Duran in their ranks, but his future at the club remains uncertain, and even if he stays, filling the void left by Watkins would be a challenging task.

Aston Villa fans will be hoping that Watkins decides to stay at Villa Park and continue his impressive form, helping the club to build on their recent success and reach new heights in the coming seasons. However, with Liverpool's interest and the prospect of playing in the Champions League, the striker's future hangs in the balance, and Villa will need to be prepared for all eventualities.