Leeds: Jacobs drops Watkins update

Ben Jacobs has dropped an update on reported Leeds United transfer target Ollie Watkins.

What’s the talk?

In a recent interview with GIVEMESPORT, the CBS Sport journalist stated his belief that, despite a number of reports linking Victor Orta with a move for the Aston Villa centre-forward this summer, there is little to suggest that the Whites would be able to get a deal for the 26-year-old over the line prior to next week’s transfer deadline.

However, Jacobs went on to suggest that, should there in fact be an underlying tension between the England international and Steven Gerrard – as has been reported – the Spanish director of football could yet see an opportunity arise to move for the striker, before the journalist stated his belief that Watkins’ arrival would excite the Elland Road faithful.

Regarding Leeds’ reported interest in the Villa forward, Jacobs said: “I think Ollie Watkins is the one that would excite Leeds fans the most, but there’s nothing to suggest that they can get a deal done quickly.

“Between now and when the window closes – unless these Villa denials are more PR [and] there is an underlying tension and Watkins does want a fresh challenge at that point – perhaps Leeds will see a window of opportunity to capitalise.”

“Unbelievable” signing

With Orta’s bid to add a new centre-forward to Jesse Marsch’s attacking arsenal at Elland Road prior to the closure of the summer transfer window being well known, should the Spaniard manage to pull off a deal for Watkins in the coming days, the argument that it would be an unbelievable signing for the Whites is an easy one to make.

Indeed, following his £28m move from Brentford back in 2020, the £31.5m-rated talent made an immediate impact for Villa over 37 Premier League fixtures in 2020/21, scoring 14 goals, registering five assists and creating eight big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.6 shots – 1.2 of which hit the target – making 1.2 key passes and completing 1.1 dribbles per game.

The £75k-per-week forward followed this campaign up with another impressive haul over his 35 league fixtures in 2021/22, bagging 11 goals, providing two assists and creating four big chances, in addition to taking an average of 2.2 shots – 0.9 of which hit the target – making one key pass and completing 1.1 dribbles per outing.

For context, those returns would appear to better that of Bamford, who registered an equal 2.2 shots but only managed 0.6 key passes and 0.4 dribbles per game as he struggled in a number of metrics.

Yet again, the player who Justin Allen dubbed “deadly” and Dean Smith labelled “unbelievable” has caught the eye over his three Premier League appearances so far this season, with Watkins proving himself to be a well-rounded striker that would benefit Marsch enormously.

Indeed, he has already scored one goal, registered two assists and created one big chance, as well as taking an average of 1.3 shots – 0.7 of which hit the target – making one key pass and completing 0.3 dribbles per fixture.

As such, while it is true that Watkins’ reported £50m asking price does look rather steep, considering just how consistent a goalscorer, assist provider and chance creator the seven-cap international has proven himself to be in the Premier League compared to Bamford, should Orta manage to get a deal over the line for the 26-year-old prior to September’s transfer deadline, he would indeed appear to make an unbelievable addition to Marsch’s current attacking options at Leeds.