Man Utd news: Player at the center of £100m swap deal outshining Rashford

Watkins scored twice in Villa’s 3-3 draw with Brentford on Saturday, taking his tally to 24 goals and 10 assists in all competitions from 43 appearances. Rashford, meanwhile, has played seven fewer games but registered just eight goals and five assists in a sharp decline from the previous season. Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore copped plenty of confused responses when he initially claimed that United would have to pay an extortionate fee to prise Watkins away from Villa Park.

He boldly stated that a £100m fee would just be the start of negotiations and another player would have to come the way. When asked on X (formerly known as Twitter) how much Watkins would hypothetically cost United, who were searching for a new striker at the time, Collymore cheekily quipped back: “£100m plus Rashford. Sounds about right…”

Many were puzzled by the idea that United would be the team paying an additional fee in any proposed swap deal involving Rashford and Watkins, let alone a nine-figure sum.

And despite dropping two points at home to relegation candidates Brentford, Villa and Watkins are in pole position for a Champions League place ahead of United. With the Premier League likely to receive five places in next year’s expanded European competition, Unai Emery’s outfit sit 12 points ahead of sixth-placed United. Although Villa have played two more games than their counterparts, Watkins showcased that not only can he perform on the pitch as one of the division’s leading strikers, he wants more from the team to prove that they belong among English football’s elite.

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“It’s frustrating,” Watkins told Match of the Day after drawing with Brentford. “We lacked that big team mentality where they kill games off which is really disappointing.

I’m not belittling my team. I’m part of it. I felt when it went to 3-3 that we would go on and win.

We had a lot of the ball and we were creating chances.”

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