Merson urges Arsenal to ‘steam in and get’ Aston Villa star

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged the Gunners to sign Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins.

The 26-year-old joined Villa from Brentford in 2020 for a fee believed to be around £30million.

He has scored 21 goals in 58 matches for the Villans and earned his first England cap against San Marino in March last year, scoring in the 5-0 win.

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Watkins has been linked with Arsenal – who are searching for a new striker – with Alexandre Lacazette set to leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also has an uncertain future in north London after he lost the captain’s armband following a disciplinary breach.

It is a positive time to be a Villa player, however, after they signed Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona and Lucas Digne from Everton for £25m.

Merson believes they have a “superstar” on their hands in Coutinho, and has urged Arsenal to make a move for Watkins.

“Aston Villa are crying out for a superstar,” he told Sky Sports (quotes via Metro).

“They have got one [Coutinho]. You don’t lose talent. You can’t teach that. That’s not taught.

“This lad carried Liverpool, at times. It’s the way Steven Gerrard plays him, let teams worry about him, rather him having to track back some average player back to his own box.

“But, if I was Arsenal now, I would go and steam in to try and get Watkins. If I was Arsenal.”

Meanwhile, Serie A outfit Udinese are closing in on the loan signing of Arsenal defender Pablo Mari, according to reports in Italy.

The 28-year-old initially joined the Gunners on loan from Flamengo in January 2020 before signing permanently a few months later.

Italian website TuttoMercatoWeb claim that the Spaniard will move on loan to Udinese before the end of the month as they have reached ‘white smoke’ over a deal but Gianluca Di Marzio insists there will be no clause to make the loan permanent in the summer.

Di Marzio adds that the signing of Mari will provide Udinese – who find themselves four points above the relegation zone in Serie A – with a ‘strongly desired shot’.

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