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Manchester United transfer news: 'Summer target set to stay at Premier League club'

Man Utd transfer news: 'Summer target set to stay at PL club'
© Reuters
Manchester United seemingly suffer a blow in their pursuit of a Premier League striker ahead of the summer transfer window.

Manchester United have seemingly suffered a blow in their pursuit of a Premier League striker this summer.

A number of incomings and outgoings are expected at Old Trafford ahead of the 2024-25 campaign following the arrival of minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The addition of a new centre-forward is thought to be high on the Red Devils' agenda, regardless as to whether manager Erik ten Hag stays or leaves the club this summer.

Rasmus Hojlund ended his debut campaign at Old Trafford with 16 goals in 43 appearances across all competitions, including 10 strikes in 30 Premier League outings.

The 21-year-old will soon be Man United's only recognised striker as Anthony Martial has announced that he will be leaving the club upon the expiration of his contract next month.

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring against Fulham on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Watkins hints at Aston Villa stay amid Man Utd links

A recent report claims that Man United are considering a move for Aston Villa striker and England international Ollie Watkins, who is viewed by Ratcliffe as an 'ideal player' to provide competition for Hojlund next season.

However, Watkins has seemingly suggested that he is planning to stay put at Villa Park, where he is under contract until June 2028.

Speaking to reporters, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News, after Villa's heavy 5-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season, Watkins said: "It was disappointing to end such a great season on such a low note at Crystal Palace, but we have been tremendous all season, very consistent, and we finished where we deserved, with Champions League football coming to Villa Park.

"Next year will be very special. What happened at Palace was poor, individually and collectively, but this doesn't tell the story of our season. We've been great all year.

"On a personal note, I've been consistent. There's not much more I can do. It was the aim to get to 20 goals, but there's always next season.

"Has it been a breakthrough? Yes. But I wasn't surprised by how well I've done because of all the hard work I've put in. And next season will be better, I'm sure of that."

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their second goal on April 14, 2024© Reuters

Watkins thriving under Emery

Watkins has elevated his game to new heights since the arrival of manager Unai Emery, who extended his contract until the summer of 2029 on Monday.

The 28-year-old enjoyed his best scoring season in a Villa shirt in 2023-24, netting 27 goals and registering 13 assists in 53 appearances across all competitions to help the Lions finish fourth in the Premier League and reach the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

Since joining Villa from Brentford in 2020, Watkins has made a total of 169 appearances in all tournaments, scoring 70 goals and providing 26 assists.

Watkins is now focused on representing England at Euro 2024 after being selected in Gareth Southgate's preliminary squad ahead of this summer's tournament in Germany.

The striker can then look forward to Champions League football at Villa Park next season, while Man United take part in the Europa League following their FA Cup triumph over Manchester City in the final.

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