Sheffield United are interested in signing Brentford’s Ollie Watkins, reports Sky Sports News.
However, they face competition from Crystal Palace and Southampton. The Saints are long term admirers of Watkins. Meanwhile, Palace view the 23-year-old as a replacement for Wilfried Zaha should he leave.
Blades manager Chris Wilder is supposedly keen on Watkins after another fine season for the Bees. The 23-year-old scored 10 Championship goals and provided six assists in 2018/19.
It was Watkins’ second year at Griffin Park after joining from boyhood side Exeter City. The forward has already racked up 93 appearances and 23 goals for the Greater London club.
Is Ollie Watkins right for Sheffield United?
There is no denying that the attacker is a fine and promising talent. It is also easy to see why many would think Watkins could make the step up to the Premier League.
That said, it is debatable whether he would fit into Wilder’s system. The Blades boss has made it clear there won’t be big overhauls to his side following promotion.
Therefore it would suggest Wilder is likely to stick with the formation that served him so well this term. Which is understandable, as it took them to second with the best defensive record and fourth best attack.
The 3-4-1-2 that Wilder plays is also very distinctive to him, with overlapping centre-backs that are often the furthest up the pitch when in possession. What it does not use is wingers.
While Watkins has been used as a striker, he is primarily utilised from the left wing. Perhaps the best role he would be suited to under Wilder is as the number ten, but that would then be changing his game significantly.
There was a similar problem on display this term with Liverpool loanee Ben Woodburn, who failed to impress at Bramall Lane. Woodburn is also better recognised as a wide player and did not get to grips with the attacking midfield position.