Shropshire Star

Unai Emery hopeful over new Aston Villa deal for Ollie Watkins

Unai Emery is hopeful Ollie Watkins will commit his long-term future to Villa.

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Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game and hat-trick during the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League play off match at Easter Road, Edinburgh. Picture date: Wednesday August 23, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Hibernian. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

Contract talks between the club and the striker have been ongoing since before the end of last season and speaking on Friday, Emery sounded an upbeat tone when asked for an update.

Watkins, whose current deal expires at the end of next season, has finished Villa’s top scorer in each of the last three campaigns and is a key part of Emery’s plans for the future.

The boss said: “We are in talks. Really, hopefully he is going to sign for a long time with us. I am very happy and I think his commitment with us is really high every day, his behaviour.

“He is an example for other players and his performances as well are always at a good level for us. Sometimes scoring more goals, sometimes scoring less, but always doing his work.”

Tyrone Mings, John McGinn and Ezri Konsa have all signed new deals since the start of the year with Emery determined to build the foundations for future success.

“We have to be very demanding and responsible,” he said. “Konsa is still young at 25 years old. He is really improving and his commitment with the club is high. I think he deserves it.

“Of course, he has to be demanding in his way after his new contract, demanding of himself to get better.

“Ollie Watkins is the same. Even when he isn’t scoring he is doing his wok. For the team and club his behaviour is amazing.”