Sheffield United are ready to meet the £18m release clause of Ollie Watkins, reports the Telegraph.

The clause has apparently come into effect because of Brentford’s failure to gain promotion to the Premier League. They lost 2-1 to Fulham in the Championship playoff final.

The Blades aren’t the only top flight club interested in signing Watkins, however. Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are also said to be willing to pay the £18m to land the striker.

Meanwhile, Leeds United are keen on Watkins as well following their promotion.

Chris Wilder is a long-term admirer of the 24-year-old and the South Yorkshire side were linked with a move for the forward during the January transfer window.

That, of course, never materialised as Watkins went onto score 26 league goals to help fire the Bees to the playoff final.

Yet the attacker is likely to be interested in a move to the Premier League, now Brentford have missed out. Watkins said he had his “head turned” by the prospect when Palace tried to sign him last summer.

Why Watkins might favour Sheffield United

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

If it comes down to a four-way battle to land Watkins, the Blades lack the financial resources to compete with the other three interested parties.

While the transfer fee is set at £18m, others might be able to tempt the Exeter City academy product with bigger wages.

Yet what Wilder will be hoping is he can sell the potential of a move to Bramall Lane. After all, his team have just finished ahead of all of the others chasing Watkins.

Palace were their closest rivals, but ended five places and 11 points behind. Villa only avoided relegation on the final day, while Leeds have just been promoted.

The other advantage the Blades might have is via two established stars who have made the same move. John Egan and Jack O’Connell both made the switch from Griffin Park to South Yorkshire in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

Both have enjoyed great success under Wilder since doing so as well. O’Connell is even being considered for an England call-up – something which is likely to be of interest to fellow countryman, Watkins.

Perhaps Wilder could use the help of his two defenders to help seal the deal?

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