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Middlesbrough boss reveals efforts to sign Aston Villa star at Cardiff City

Speaking to Teesside Live, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has revealed he tried to sign Aston Villa hotshot Ollie Watkins from Exeter City during his time as boss of Cardiff City.

Ollie Watkins’ performances for Aston Villa this season have been catching the attention of football fans up and down the country. His form with Brentford earned him a move to the Premier League and the question of ‘will he be able to step up?’ was asked of the striker.

Watkins’ form has well and truly answered that question, netting eight goals in 10 Aston Villa games, including a hat-trick against reigning champions Liverpool and a brace against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

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Now, with Watkins impressive form gaining plenty of attention, Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock has reflected on his attempts to sign the 24-year-old earlier in his career.

Speaking to Teesside Live, Warnock revealed that he tried to bring Watkins to Cardiff City while he was still at Exeter City. However, the Bluebirds’ board though the £2m asking price was too steep. He said:

“I tried to get Cardiff to sign Watkins at Exeter but they thought £2m was too much. He went for £2m and then £30m (to Aston Villa in the summer). I always saw him as a striker even though he was playing out wide.

“I’m always looking at lower levels. I rang Mehmet [Dalman, Cardiff City’s chairman] up recently and said, ‘just remind Vincent [Tan, Cardiff City’s owner] when he went for £30m and we could have had him for £2m’.”

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport

Do you think that Watkins would have reached the same heights if he joined Cardiff City instead of Brentford? Have your thoughts in the poll at the bottom of the page.

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