Ollie Watkins has joined Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee. The current Sky Bet Championship Player of the Year completed his move to Villa Park earlier today, Wednesday 9 September, after three years in West London.
The 24-year-old netted 26 goals in all competitions last season, winning the Brentford FC Players’ Player of the Year and Goal of the Season prizes, to go with his Championship gong. Ollie scored seven goals in our opening nine Championship fixtures, including a hat-trick against Barnsley in September. His brace at Queens Park Rangers in October took him into double figures for the campaign and he reached the 20-goal mark with a late winner against Middlesbrough in February. His next goal, a stunning half-volley against Blackburn Rovers, would be voted our Goal of the Season. Following the restart, Ollie played every minute, netting his 25th goal of the campaign against Preston North End. Ollie’s final Bees goal was the opener in our 3-1 victory over Swansea City in the Play-Off Final Second Leg at Griffin Park.
Brentford FC Head Coach, Thomas Frank, said: “I would like to wish Ollie all the best. He has done very well for us over the past three seasons, taking steps in the right direction every year, but especially last year moving from a wide attacker to a central striker. For me he is the modern striker. He has so many attributes and his link up play has improved so much. He can press and run in behind but for me the biggest thing is that he has learned to find top positions in the box, which is where he scored almost all his goals last season. His mentality is a big part of that; he pushes himself and the team every day. He is a team player with a hunger for goals that every top striker needs. He deserves all the best. I am sure he will have success at Aston Villa and I can see him having a great future at international level too."
Brentford FC co-Director of Football, Phil Giles, said: "After the fantastic season that Ollie just had, I think most of us realised that there would be significant interest in him during this window. We had several offers from different clubs, but Aston Villa's was a good deal for all parties. I'm certain Ollie will prove that he is worth every penny that has been paid for him. On behalf of everyone at Brentford I want to thank him for giving us 3 fantastic seasons and wish him every success in future."
The attacker came through the ranks at Exeter City and made his professional debut on the final day of the 2013-14 season, aged 18. The 2015-16 campaign saw his establish himself in the South West. He scored nine goals in 22 matches, winning the Football League Young Player and PFA Fans' Player awards for March plus scoring The Grecians’ Goal of the Season. The following season, his final at St James Park, was even better with Ollie appearing 52 times, scoring six goals and contributing 13 assists. He picked up another EFL League Two Player of the Month award and received the EFL Young Player of the Year prize.
Following his summer move, Ollie made his Brentford debut on the opening day of the 2017-18 season and scored his first goal three days later in an EFL Cup tie at AFC Wimbledon. He missed just one Sky Bet Championship fixture during his first season, netting 11 goals, and contributing five assists, in all competitions. He improved that tally to 12 goals and nine assists during the 2018-19 campaign; twice being nominated for Championship Player of the Month prizes. Last season’s 26 goals and three assists took his tally in the red and white of Brentford to 49 goals and 17 assists in 143 outings.