Date: 23rd May 2021 at 7:10pm
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Speaking exclusively to This Is Futbol, former Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie believes Dean Smith was possibly the decisive factor in getting Ollie Watkins to Villa Park.

Watkins had a season, finishing the 2020/21 campaign as Villa’s leading goalscorer and winning plaudits from names such as Alan .

However, Watkins could have easily been banging in the goals for another outfit, with the international recently revealing that other Premier League sides were interested in him before his move to Villa from Brentford last year.

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It was not something Hendrie was surprised to hear, while he was also not shocked to see Watkins opt to sign for Villa in the end due to the fact that the 25-year-old striker has played under Smith before.

You take gambles at football clubs and I said when Villa signed him, he was definitely not a gamble,” Hendrie said to TIF.

I’m pretty sure there were lots of clubs that were certainly circling, which I know they were, to try and get his signature. But I felt that because he worked with Dean, there was only one place he was going to go – and I’m glad he did.”

£28m may have seemed like a lot of money at the time, especially for a player coming from a second division, but Watkins has been well worth the millions as he helped fire Villa far from the relegation zone.