Sherwood now hails ‘real handful’ Arteta wants Arsenal to sign from Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to target a transfer for Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa to complete his squad during the summer. And the striker’s recent form has left Tim Sherwood purring.

The Gunners boss is keen to add another goal threat to his ranks at Emirates Stadium next season. Arsenal are on course to secure their return to the Champions League for the first time since 2016/17. They may also be defending a first Premier League title since 2003/04.

So, Arsenal boss Arteta has now cast his eyes on Watkins with the forward in prolific form for Aston Villa. Rudy Galetti reports the Spaniard has asked Gunners sporting director Edu to target the 27-year-old. He rates the attacker and what the forward can add very highly.

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Arteta wants to target Watkins to add another goal threat to his Arsenal squad

Arteta and Edu have a few strikers on their shortlist for this summer with Arsenal keen to target new forwards. Wingers Gabriel Martinelli (12) and Bukayo Saka (10) plus midfielder Martin Odegaard (10) are the Emirates Stadium outfit’s top scorers in the Premier League.

Gabriel Jesus is Arsenal’s fourth-best scorer in the top-flight this term with five despite him missing three months to injury. The Brazilian returned to action last week after undergoing surgery in December for a medial ligament issue the £45m star suffered at the World Cup.

Eddie Nketiah initially stepped in for Jesus and scored four goals before struggling for form then sustaining an ankle injury. All the while Folarin Balogun has scored 16 goals for Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 during the 21-year-old’s loan. He returns to north London this summer.

Yet Arteta has asked Edu to target Watkins as he believes the Aston Villa striker’s transfer would complete his Arsenal squad. The 27-year-old has been in prolific form at Villa Park in recent weeks since former Gunners boss Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard at the helm.

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Watkins has left Sherwood purring with his recent form under Emery

Watkins’ recent form has left Sherwood purring with praise having stepped up since Aston Villa sold Danny Ings to West Ham United. Emery let the striker join David Moyes’ squad in January for £12m, plus £3m in add-ons. Even though he was their top scorer with six goals.

At the time when Ings left Birmingham, Watkins had only scored three goals in 18 Premier League appearances this term. Yet the £28m, rising to £33m, former Brentford striker has scored six goals in his last seven appearances ahead of facing Bournemouth this Saturday.

Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Watkins has scored once against Southampton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton and West Ham during his prolific run. His efforts have enthralled Sherwood, too.

“He’s got the confidence now,” Sherwood said on Sky Sports News (18/03, 12:26). “They moved Danny Ings on to West Ham, he’s the main man, likes getting a little bit of a cuddle from the manager. Obviously, a very experienced manager, seen a lot of good strikers.

“For Ollie Watkins to be his main man, gives the boy a lot of confidence. He’s scoring a lot of good goals from that left-hand side.

“He runs tirelessly in behind, he stretches teams and creates space for the number 10s. So, brilliant, I’m really pleased for him because he’s scoring on a regular basis now and he’s a real handful for any defender.”

In other news, Conte makes Son vs Richarlison decision: Tottenham predicted line-up vs Southampton

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