Arsenal have reportedly identified Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins as a potential replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
According to ESPN, Arsenal are preparing for a future without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gunners are willing to listen to offers for the star striker in January and have already prepared a list of potential replacements.
One of the options Arsenal are considering is Ollie Watkins. It appears Mikel Arteta is a huge fan of the Aston Villa forward due to his style of play that resembles Aubameyang, to an extent. Although the club acknowledges that Watkins cannot be pursued in January, they are set to keep close tabs on the forward’s situation ahead of a potential move in the summer.
The former Brentford striker has enjoyed stellar success since moving to Aston Villa in 2020. He scored 14 goals in his debut campaign in the Premier League while supplying seven assists. He has not been as prolific in the new season but remains a valuable asset to the team due to his pace and tactical flexibility in the final third.
A centre-forward by trade, Watkins can play out wide if required, while his technical prowess allows him to link up well. It makes him an appealing target for Arteta, who is looking for a replacement for Aubameyang either in January or in the summer transfer window.
The Gabonese international has recently fallen out of favour after once again breaching the club’s disciplinary rules. His poor performance on the pitch also contributed to the club’s decision to strip him of from the captaincy role. And quite unsurprisingly, it has led to widespread speculations surrounding his future, with Newcastle United among the clubs interested in his services.
Aside from Aubameyang, Arsenal are also facing a battle to keep hold of Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman’s current contract at the Emirates expires in the summer, putting Inter Milan on red alert.
The Gunners are also likely to part ways with Eddie Nketiah and even Folarin Balogun, preferably on a temporary deal. The latter has been linked with a January loan move to Nottingham Forest, thus accentuating the need for a new striker.
The addition of Ollie Watkins, to that end, could be a smart move by Arsenal, although the club has no shortage of alternatives. In addition to the Aston Villa forward, the north London giants are reportedly in the market for Dominic Calvert-Lewin while Real Sociedad superstar Alexander Isak is another option, as Arteta look to overhaul his goalscoring department.