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Man Utd could sign Dwight Yorke 2.0 for 'nightmare' £52m deal

Over the years, there has been something romantic about Manchester United signing players from within the Premier League. It has often been a match made in heaven, with the Red Devils recruiting seasoned players from top level opponents, who have always made a big difference in the title race.

Perhaps the best example is Wayne Rooney, who joined United from Everton in 2004, aged 18. Rooney has now made history at the club, and won a number of trophies at home and on the continent for United, signing a deal worth up to £27m.

Rio Ferdinand is another player United brought from another Premier League team, this time bitter rivals Leeds United. Ferdinand cost the Red Devils £30m, a record fee at the time, and the defender became a key member of the club, helping to build a similar Rooney dynasty.

Dwight Yorke, who signed from Aston Villa, and Andy Cole, who signed from Newcastle United, were also brought in by their rivals. Cole arrived a few years before Yorke, but both were key to United's 1998/99 treble – scoring 53 goals between them.


Now, United could look to repeat this in the summer and sign one of the best strikers for the 2023/24 season to strengthen their attacking options.

Man Utd are looking to sign a Premier League striker

The player in question here is Aston Villa and England striker, Ollie Watkins, who has had a great season at Villa Park, helping his side into the Champions League. He has now attracted interest from several clubs this summer, including Manchester United.

At least, that's according to Graeme Bailey, who says Watkins is the favorite of the Old Trafford club, who 'want a striker to take the load off' 21-year-old Rasmus Hojlund.

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins

However, United are not the only Premier League club interested in signing 28-year-old Watkins from the Villans. Bailey explains that the Englishman has 'admirers' from Arsenal, United's rivals Liverpool, and Chelsea.

That being said, it will be a tough deal, although all four clubs believe Watkins can be signed for the right price. According to Bailey, Unai Emery's side 'insist that they have no plans to sell' their star, especially as they have the highly anticipated Champions League game at Villa Park next season.

How Watkins can emulate Yorke at Man Utd

There are many striking parallels between Yorke's move to United and Watkins' potential transfer to the 13-year-old Premier League champions. Importantly, of course, they both came from Villa.

Yorke joined United for £17.3m in 1998, after a successful season at Villa Park, where he scored 12 goals and registered four assists. In today's money, he would cost the Red Devils £75.6m, worked out using the conversion tool on The Transfer Index.


Watkins himself is going into the summer following an excellent campaign. The 28-year-old has scored 19 goals and registered 13 assists in 37 Premier League appearances this season. According to Football Observatory, he is currently valued at £52m but could cost upwards of £75m, the same amount Yorke will cost in 2024.

Watkins and Yorke's recent Premier League seasons at Villa


Watkins (2023/24)

Yorke (1997/98)







It helps



Statistics from Transfermarkt

Watkins could have a similar impact at United to that of Yorke. The Trinidad and Tobago international was more than just a goal scorer for the Red Devils, providing 32 assists to go along with his 66 goals. Watkins is also a scorer as well as a scorer, as he has shown this season. His 13 assists were second to none, and he won the playoff award.

Watkins was described as a “nightmare to play against” by Leicester City defender Conor Coady last April, and this is certainly something that can be seen in his statistics from this season. According to Fbref, Watkins is averaging 0.36 assists per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, which puts him in the top 1%. You are an amazing creator.

Not only that, but he has an uncanny ability to do nothing in front of goal, a hallmark of all good strikers. He averaged 0.73 goalscoring actions per 90 minutes, which puts him in the 7%.

Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa

Like Yorke, Watkins will join United as a proven Premier League footballer at the start of his career. Although he will have to give up Champions League football this season, he has the chance to help bring the Red Devils back to the top and go down in club history.

It remains to be seen whether a deal for the Englishman will be done, however it could help United continue to fight for trophies again.


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