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According to ESPN, Arsenal are preparing for a future without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gunners are willing to listen to offers for the star striker in January and have already prepared a list of potential replacements.
One of the options Arsenal are considering is Ollie Watkins. It appears Mikel Arteta is a huge fan of the Aston Villa forward due to his style of play that resembles Aubameyang, to an extent.
Watkins has impressed since arriving in the Premier League
The former Brentford striker has enjoyed stellar success since moving to Aston Villa in 2020. He scored 14 goals in his debut campaign in the Premier League while supplying seven assists. He has not been as prolific in the new season but remains a valuable asset to the team due to his pace and tactical flexibility in the final third.
A centre-forward by trade, Watkins can play out wide if required, while his technical prowess allows him to link up well. It makes him an appealing target for Arteta, who is looking for a replacement for Aubameyang either in January or in the summer transfer window.
Aubameyang's problems with Arsenal make transfer easier for Watkins
The Gabonese international has recently fallen out of favor after once again breaching the club’s disciplinary rules. His poor performance on the pitch also contributed to the club’s decision to strip him of from the captaincy role. And quite unsurprisingly, it has led to widespread speculations surrounding his future, with Newcastle United among the clubs interested in his services.
Ollie Watkins was not called up for the match against Brentford
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has explained why Ollie Watkins was out of the Premier League clash with Brentford today.
Watkins missed out for the first time since he returned to the squad at the start of August having begun the season with an injury.
The Villa forward is pivotal to the way Gerrard's side play and his absence presented Danny Ings who scored Villa´s goal showing why he deserves a regular starting spot up front.
Villa have struggled with injury and coronavirus problems recently, forcing the postponement of last month's clash with Burnley at Villa Park and John McGinn returned to the team for Brentford after missing Chelsea.
And when asked by the Sky Sports reporter whether it was down to injury or illness, Gerrard gave a wry smile and paused for a moment before answering.
He said: "I'm not sure I'm in a position to give you the details on it, but we have got a mixture of covid and injury problems at the moment."
Gerrard's reluctance to explain the truth behind Watkins' absence suggests there might be something more to it than just injury or illness.
But the former Liverpool captain then went on to say that Watkins "should be back for the next game," suggesting he will not quit Villa Park before their FA Cup tie with Manchester United on 10 January.
Watkins has been linked with a move to the Gunners for a number of months and is reportedly seen as a long-term replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette who is out of contract in the summer and could leave for free, after managing just three goals in 15 league appearances this season.