May 7, 2024

Coventry City v Manchester United – Emirates FA Cup Semi Final


A Marcus Rashford swap deal was put forward to Manchester United.


Manchester United were previously told that only £100million and Marcus Rashford in exchange would be enough to prise Ollie Watkins out of Aston Villa, but due to the strength in depth of Gareth Southgate’s England squad there is a chance that the striker may not even make Euro 2024.


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Despite scoring 19 Premier League goals, bettered by only Erling Haaland, Cole Palmer and Alexander Isak, Watkins’ seat on the plane is far from secured. Captain Harry Kane will spearhead the Three Lions’ attack but the remaining options up front for Southgate will puzzle the former Middlesbrough boss.


Watkins, Ivan Toney and Dominic Solanke are all candidates for a place in the squad, with at least one likely to miss out, despite UEFA confirming that squad sizes have been increased from 23 players to 26.


Watkins has 11 caps for England but may not add to them at the Euros, after Manchester United were informed of the jaw-dropping price it would take to sign the 28-year-old. Before the Red Devils settled on Rasmus Hojlund as their leading forward, reports had suggested that United were keen on Watkins.


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But former Villa striker Stan Collymore was quick to play down their chances of signing Unai Emery’s forward, suggesting that only a nine-figure fee and Rashford combined would be enough to land Watkins: “£100m plus Rashford. Sounds about right…”


Many were initially puzzled at Collymore’s valuation of Watkins, but the former Brentford man’s clinical season has propelled Villa into fourth place, closing in on a Champions League spot and the hypothetical valuation won’t be deemed far-fetched anymore.


But there is no guarantee that Watkins will get the chance to replicate his goalscoring exploits on the international stage this summer, with Southgate unable to guarantee that both he and Toney will be in the Euros squad.


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When asked in March if there would be space for the two strikers, Southgate replied “Maybe, maybe not. I genuinely don’t know the answer to that.


“That will depend on what kind of profile we need, what the profiles of the rest of the squad [members] are, whether we need a couple of players that are adaptable in a couple of positions that means we can pick specialists in certain other positions.


“I think we feel that Ivan is one of the contenders in that role, so [it is] important to bring him back in and be able to work with him again.


“He has shown, coming back into Brentford’s team, the impact and quality that he can have. Equally, Ollie is having an outstanding season with Aston Villa and is a player in excellent form. I have to say Unai has done an excellent job with Villa, and he’s a player who has benefited from that.”

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