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Manchester United transfer news: 'Summer target set to stay at Premier League club'

:Headline: Manchester United transfer news: 'Summer target set to stay at Premier League club':
Manchester United seemingly suffer a blow in their pursuit of a Premier League striker ahead of the summer transfer window.
Sports Mole

Manchester United have seemingly suffered a blow in their pursuit of a Premier League striker this summer.

A number of incomings and outgoings are expected at Old Trafford ahead of the 2024-25 campaign following the arrival of minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The addition of a new centre-forward is thought to be high on the Red Devils' agenda, regardless as to whether manager Erik ten Hag stays or leaves the club this summer.

Rasmus Hojlund ended his debut campaign at Old Trafford with 16 goals in 43 appearances across all competitions, including 10 strikes in 30 Premier League outings.

The 21-year-old will soon be Man United's only recognised striker as Anthony Martial has announced that he will be leaving the club upon the expiration of his contract next month.

Watkins hints at Aston Villa stay amid Man Utd links

A recent report claims that Man United are considering a move for Aston Villa striker and England international Ollie Watkins, who is viewed by Ratcliffe as an 'ideal player' to provide competition for Hojlund next season.

However, Watkins has seemingly suggested that he is planning to stay put at Villa Park, where he is under contract until June 2028.

Speaking to reporters, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News, after Villa's heavy 5-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season, Watkins said: "It was disappointing to end such a great season on such a low note at Crystal Palace, but we have been tremendous all season, very consistent, and we finished where we deserved, with Champions League football coming to Villa Park.

"Next year will be very special. What happened at Palace was poor, individually and collectively, but this doesn't tell the story of our season. We've been great all year.

"On a personal note, I've been consistent. There's not much more I can do. It was the aim to get to 20 goals, but there's always next season.

"Has it been a breakthrough? Yes. But I wasn't surprised by how well I've done because of all the hard work I've put in. And next season will be better, I'm sure of that."

Watkins thriving under Emery

Watkins has elevated his game to new heights since the arrival of manager Unai Emery, who extended his contract until the summer of 2029 on Monday.

The 28-year-old enjoyed his best scoring season in a Villa shirt in 2023-24, netting 27 goals and registering 13 assists in 53 appearances across all competitions to help the Lions finish fourth in the Premier League and reach the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

Since joining Villa from Brentford in 2020, Watkins has made a total of 169 appearances in all tournaments, scoring 70 goals and providing 26 assists.

Watkins is now focused on representing England at Euro 2024 after being selected in Gareth Southgate's preliminary squad ahead of this summer's tournament in Germany.

The striker can then look forward to Champions League football at Villa Park next season, while Man United take part in the Europa League following their FA Cup triumph over Manchester City in the final.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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