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Dean Smith played major role in Ollie Watkins’ move to Aston Villa

Barnsley v Brentford – Sky Bet Championship – Oakwell
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Ollie Watkins has outlined the importance of manager Dean Smith in his decision to sign for Aston Vila.

The 24-year-old striker joined Villa from Brentford in what is reported to be a club-record £28million deal that could potentially rise to £33million.

The moves sees Watkins reunited with former Bees boss Smith, who was in charge at Griffin Park when he joined the London club from Exeter in 2017.

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Watkins had other options but he said Smith “sold” him the move to Villa.

“I’m delighted, it’s a massive club,” he told Villa TV. “Dean sold it to me, really. I’m definitely excited to get back working with Dean, I’m really looking forward to it.

“He sold it to me as soon as I met him. I told my agent I really want to get that sorted as soon as I heard they were interested.

“I’m looking forward to working with him and Rich (O’Kelly), they gave me a lot of confidence playing under them at Brentford. Hopefully they can do that again now.

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“It’s been a long time coming but I’m buzzing it’s done now, I can’t wait to get going. I cannot wait to wear the famous claret and blue in the Premier League. I want to do something special here and score some goals.”

Villa had been looking to bolster their strike force after only securing Premier League survival on the final day of last season.

They had been linked with Callum Wilson prior to his move from Bournemouth to Newcastle earlier this week.

Aston Villa v Liverpool – Carabao Cup – Quarter Final – Villa Park

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is looking forward to working with Ollie Watkins again (Nick Potts/PA)

Watkins scored 26 goals last season in a campaign that saw Brentford reach the Sky Bet Championship play-off final.

Smith said: “Ollie has developed into one of the most sought-after strikers in the country and we are looking forward to seeing him show his great qualities in an Aston Villa shirt.

“He is a hugely determined character who has both the ability and personality to succeed at the highest level.”