Aston Villa manager Unai Emery remains optimistic about the prospect of Ollie Watkins committing his long-term future to the club.
The Spanish manager confirmed in a press conference earlier today that the club have opened talks with Watkins over a contract extension.
The 27-year-old has two years left on the five-year contract he signed when he completed a £28 million deal to switch Brentford for Villa in 2020.
Villa are eager to keep Watkins, considering his impressive form for the club, and talks have begun over a new deal.
While nothing is set in stone, with negotiations only at a preliminary stage, Emery has expressed his desire to see Watkins pledge his allegiance to the Birmingham club.
“We are in talks, and hopefully he is going to sign for a long time with us,” Emery said (via The Athletic) in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Brighton & Hove Albion.
“I’m very happy, and I think his commitment is really high commitment every day. He’s an example for other players.
“His performance as well is always at a good level for us and for him sometimes scoring more goals, sometimes less, but always doing his work.”
Watkins has struggled to find the back of the net this season, but he opened his goalscoring account in Villa’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
While the goals have not been coming thick and fast for the English striker, Watkins remains vital to Villa’s style of play due to his hard work in and out of possession.
The England international will hope to build on last weekend’s goalscoring performance when Emery’s side welcome Roberto De Zerbi’s high-flying Brighton to Villa Park on Saturday.
Villa will be eager to return to winning ways this weekend after being eliminated from the League Cup third round by Everton in their previous outing.
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