Can Jonathan David fill the void if Ollie Watkins leaves Aston Villa?

Fulham FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
Fulham FC v Aston Villa - Premier League / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Aston Villa's squad could look significantly different when they face West Ham United in their opening Premier League match of the 2024/25 season. The club recently had to sell players to comply with profit and sustainability rules (PSR) before the 30 June deadline, successfully passing compliance by offloading Douglas Luiz, Tim Iroegbunam, and Omari Kellyman.

With no restrictions on signing new players, attention has turned to the potential sale of star striker Ollie Watkins and his possible replacement, Jonathan David. Watkins, who will turn 29 midway through the upcoming campaign, has attracted interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.

His market value has skyrocketed to £55 million according to Transfermarkt, thanks to an impressive season where he scored 27 goals and provided 13 assists, helping Villa secure a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. Given his age and current form, manager Unai Emery might consider selling him during the current transfer window to capitalise on his high market value.

Jonathan David has surfaced as a strong candidate to replace Watkins. Aston Villa is one of several English clubs eyeing David, with Manchester United currently at the forefront of the pursuit. However, Villa's recent Champions League qualification could make them an appealing destination for the young forward. With only one year remaining on his contract, Lille president Olivier Letang has suggested that offers in the region of £25 million could secure David's services.

Ligue 1 Uber EatsLille OSC v Olympique Lyonnais
Ligue 1 Uber EatsLille OSC v Olympique Lyonnais / ANP/GettyImages

David's statistics from last season highlight his potential. He scored 26 goals and provided nine assists across 47 games in all competitions. His non-penalty goals per 90 minutes (0.58) and pass success rate per 90 minutes (82%) place him among the top performers in Europe's top five leagues.

Known for his selfless play and team-oriented mindset, David's ability to link up with teammates and create chances aligns well with Emery's tactical discipline and teamwork-focused approach.

Standing at 1.80 metres, David has the physical presence to compete in the Premier League. He is two-footed, making him versatile in attack and capable of playing various forward roles. His movement off the ball and ability to score with both feet would be valuable assets for Aston Villa.

David has significant international experience with Canada, earning 48 caps and scoring 26 goals since his debut in 2018. His maturity and ability to handle pressure situations on the international stage would be beneficial in the Premier League.

While Watkins has been a key player for Aston Villa, Jonathan David's goal-scoring record in a competitive league like Ligue 1 suggests he could replicate or even surpass Watkins' contributions.

One potential challenge for David could be adapting to the Premier League's physicality and pace. His recent performance against Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League, where he struggled to make a significant impact, highlights the need for adaptation. However, his overall skill set and track record suggest he has the potential to overcome these challenges.

Jonathan David seems to be a highly promising replacement for Ollie Watkins. His goal-scoring prowess, versatility, and team-oriented mindset make him an ideal candidate to fill the void should Watkins depart. Although an adjustment period may be necessary, David's attributes and experience indicate he could flourish in the Premier League with Aston Villa.