Ollie Watkins completed a £28m to Aston Villa this week and Leeds United fans were bemused at the price after they managed to pick up Spain’s number nine Rodrigo for less money.

However, if Leeds hadn’t signed Rodrigo then Watkins could well have smashed the transfer record at Elland Road.

Writing in The Athletic, David Ornstein said that Watkins was “impressed” with the Leeds presentation when he met with them last month.

He claims Leeds would have “pushed hard” for Watkins if Rodrigo hadn’t arrived and that he would have been their top summer target.

“Watkins was certainly interested in a move to Elland Road, too,” Ornstein said. “He’s said to have been impressed by the presentation when he met with staff from the recruitment team last month.”

It was also revealed in the piece that the £18m Watkins release clause that had been talked about was actually just an obligation to inform the player of a club’s interest if they bid that much.

Big money deals

Aston Villa spent over £100m last season and almost got relegated. That hasn’t put the brakes on for them and Watkins is their new record signing.

Given a straight choice between Watkins for £28m and Rodrigo for £27m we think that Leeds have come out of this the better, but the two players are different.

And it does sound like Leeds and Watkins were close if it had got to the presentation stage.

Watkins is an out-and-out scorer and if he’d got his goals in the Premier League last season he would be one of the most sought-after strikers in the UK.

However, there’s no guarantee that he can take his goal-scoring record up to the top flight and he’s never played above the Championship.

There are no such worries about Rodrigo – he’s played at the very highest level – but he’s not the same sort of player. He could even play as a number 10 at Leeds, with Patrick Bamford up front.

Rodrigo, Pablo Hernandez and Bamford on the pitch at the same time would be absolutely fascinating and if Bamford can start finishing, this could be the platform he needs behind him.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Fascinating’ – Gary Neville claims Leeds could be relegated if one thing happens

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