Liverpool 'ready Ollie Watkins bid' as Arne Slot gets brutal with Darwin Nunez

Ollie Watkins is one of the Premier League’s best strikers (Image: GETTY)

Liverpool are reportedly lining up a bid for Aston Villa’s star striker, Ollie Watkins, as new manager Arne Slot plans his first major signing.

Watkins, who has just completed his most successful season yet with 27 goals across all competitions, is being eyed by the Reds despite having signed a long-term contract with Villa in October.

According to The Sun, Liverpool see Watkins as the perfect replacement for Darwin Nunez, who has been inconsistent in front of goal.

Despite ending the season with 18 goals across all competitions, Nunez’s finishing has been regularly criticised and Barcelona have shown interest.

Watkins’ impressive performance has caught the attention of Slot, who recently took over from Jurgen Klopp. It is claimed by the report that a prolific number nine is high on his priority list and 28-year-old Watkins fits the bill.

Currently, Watkins is competing with Ivan Toney to be Harry Kane’s back-up for England. A strong performance in the Euros could increase his value, making it harder for Villa to retain him as they prepare for a Champions League campaign.

Watkins joined Villa from Brentford for a then-record fee of £28million and has since proven his worth. If he were to leave, Villa would make a significant profit, leaving manager Unai Emery to consider potential replacements.

Darwin Nunez had a mixed season with Liverpool (Image: GETTY)

The Villa striker, however, has expressed no intentions of leaving. He outlined his commitment to the club on signing his new contract. He said: “I feel like this is the best place for me to play my football. I’ve still got a lot to achieve here.”

In line with their ambitions, Villa have steadfastly rebuffed any advances for their leading players.

Despite Arsenal’s keen interest in Douglas Luiz, the Midlands club has dismissed all bids, going as far as to secure Emery on a fresh five-year contract to ensure he remains at the club.

On the other hand, Liverpool could be preparing for a significant shift in their attacking line-up, given the various undetermined futures of several players.

Nunez tops that list, but others such as Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz need to prove they can be consistent too.

The long-term outlook for Mo Salah remains uncertain, especially as his contract is running out and there is ongoing speculation about a move to Saudi Arabia.