Aston Villa have completed the signing of striker Ollie Watkins from Brentford for a club record fee of £28m, which could rise to £33m with add-ons.
Watkins was the Championship’s joint-top scorer last season with 26 goals.
The 24-year-old is Villa’s second signing of the transfer window following the £16m arrival of defender Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest.
“Ollie has developed into one of the most sought-after strikers in the country,” said Villa boss Dean Smith.
“We are looking forward to seeing him show his great qualities in an Aston Villa shirt.
“He is a hugely determined character who has both the ability and personality to succeed at the highest level.”
Watkins will be reunited with Smith, who signed the forward from Exeter when he was Brentford manager.
The fee for him is a record for a Championship player. Although Manchester City paid Bournemouth £40m for Nathan Ake last month and Tottenham spent £30m on Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko in August 2016, neither had played in the Championship before moving back to the Premier League.
“I am so excited to join Aston Villa and to reunite with Dean Smith as my head coach,” said Watkins.
“I want to do something special here and score some goals.”
Smith had been determined to improve his striking options after his side only secured Premier League safety on the final day of last season.
The club missed out on signing Callum Wilson from Bournemouth this week as the England striker moved to Newcastle for £20m.
Villa’s previous record signing, Brazilian striker Wesley, scored five goals in 21 games in the league after his £22m moved to Villa last summer before suffering a serious knee ligament injury in January. He is still regaining his fitness.
Villa ended the season with Mbwana Samatta and Keinan Davis as their main options up front. Samatta only scored twice after joining in January, including a goal at Wembley as Villa lost the Carabao Cup final 2-1 to Manchester City. Davis has never scored a Premier League goal.
Smith’s side scored 41 top-flight goals last season, but only six came from forwards – including five from Wesley.
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