Ollie Watkins set for Aston Villa talks amid Arsenal link after super hat-trick vs Brighton

Ollie Watkins celebrates one of his three goals in Aston Villa's 6-1 win over Brighton in September 2023.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Aston Villa are to open contract talks with striker Ollie Watkins after the striker hit a brilliant hat-trick in the 6-1 win over Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Watkins was on target after 14 minutes at Villa Park to give Unai Emery's side the lead against the Seagulls and made it 2-0 shortly afterwards.

Villa were 3-0 ahead within 26 minutes following a Pervis Estupinan own goal and after Ansu Fati had pulled a goal back for the visitors early in the second half, Watkins completed his hat-trick with a deflected effort to make it 4-1 with 65 minutes played.

The England international then set up Jacob Ramsey for Villa's fifth goal with five minutes left and Douglas Luiz rounded off a memorable afternoon for the home side to make it 6-1 in added time.

Ahead of the game, Emery spoke of his plans for Watkins and his hopes that the 27-year-old will put pen to paper on a new long-term deal.

"We are in talks," he said. "Really, hopefully he is going to sign for a long time with us. I am very happy and I think his commitment with us is really high every day, his behaviour.

"He is an example for other players and his performances as well are always at a good level for us. Sometimes scoring more goals, sometimes scoring less, but always doing his work."

Watkins has admitted in the past that he is a fan of Arsenal and said in 2020 that he hoped to play for the Gunners at some point in his career.

"That's the dream, to play for Arsenal one day," the former Brentford striker said. "But, you know, it’s a long shot."

And he added: "I'm an Arsenal fan so Thierry Henry was my idol. He's unbelievable to watch. He was the idol growing up really."

Watkins has been linked to Arsenal as manager Mikel Arteta looks to sign a new striker in January, but Brentford's Ivan Toney is understood to be the Gunners' top target.

More Aston Villa stories

Aston Villa are in talks with shirt manufacturer Castore over their controversial wet-look shirts, with the women's team particularly 'concerned', but the jerseys will continue to be used for now.

Meanwhile, one of Unai Emery's former captains has hailed the Basque as 'one of the best coaches in the world' following his impressive work at Aston Villa.

And Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez features in FourFourTwo's list of the 10 best goalkeepers in the world right now.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1