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Aston Villa seal deal for Brentford’s Ollie Watkins that could impact Arsenal pursuit of Raya

Ollie Watkins is set to complete his move from Brentford to Aston Villa in the coming hours with the clubs agreeing a £28million fee that could rise to £33million.

The 24-year-old was joint-top scorer in the Sky Bet Championship last season, scoring 25 times, as Thomas Frank’s team fell short of promotion by losing in extra-time of the play-off final to Fulham.

Brentford have already signed Ivan Toney from Peterborough United for £5million, potentially rising to £10million, and the sale of Watkins represents another impressive piece of business for the West Londoners.

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He signed from Exeter City in the summer of 2017 for less than £2million and was last season converted from a winger to a centre forward, a role in which he thrived.

Frank, the Danish head coach, had admitted during their promotion charge that Brentford would need to sell one of their key players if they failed to reach the top flight.

Algerian winger Said Benrahma had captured the interest of many clubs and could still leave if a big enough offer comes in, while Spanish goalkeeper David Raya had been watched by a number of Premier League sides, including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

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A move to the Emirates could still happen if Emi Martinez, who has interest from Villa, departs but Spurs’ interest came to an end when they signed Joe Hart as a free agent last month.

Brentford may now be under less pressure to sell their goalkeeper following Watkins’s departure, potentially driving the asking price for Raya higher and beyond Arsenal’s reach. An agreeable fee for Benrahma could also rise.

Brentford begin their Championship campaign away to Birmingham City on Saturday before the first league game at their new stadium against Huddersfield Town seven days later.