Brentford boss Thomas Frank insists he has never regretted the sale of Ollie Watkins to Saturday’s Premier League opponents Aston Villa.
Villa signed Watkins for a then club record £28million in September 2020 and the England striker is enjoying his best season yet in the top flight.
His 11 goals in his last 12 games have helped fuel in-form Villa’s charge for European football, but Frank said Brentford’s decision to sell him was right for both the London club and the player.
Frank told a press conference: “There are 10 clubs in the world, maybe less, that are not selling clubs.
“We are a club that will sell players if we are offered the right price and when it’s the right step for the player’s development.
“The day that we did not get promoted (after losing to Fulham in the 2020 play-off final), the next step was for Ollie to go to the Premier League.
“I would love to work with him, but right now I’m privileged to be working with another fantastic striker (Ivan Toney).”
Toney has scored 18 league goals for the Bees this season – behind only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane – compared to Watkins’ 14.
“They are both fantastic players and characters,” Frank said. “I worked with Ollie for three years and enjoyed it and now I’ve worked with Ivan for almost three years as well.
“They are a little bit different as types, but both of them can play the number nine. They are fairly similar. Their link-up play is very good and they’re both good goalscorers.”
Frank knows better than most how to halt Watkins’ red-hot scoring run, which has helped Villa to five straight wins.
“When you spend time with people you tend to form a relationship with them, and I am so pleased that Ollie is doing well,” Frank said.
“He scores a lot of goals and I think he’s got it in him to be a regular scorer in the Premier League.
“I’m very aware that we must do our best to close him down. Also, can we stop the rest of the players providing him with good crosses and balls in behind?
“Now he’s on a run of games when he’s confident in everything he’s doing. Some of the goals that maybe shouldn’t go in are going in. He’s in a fantastic place.”
The Bees are bidding to snap a five-game winless run, from which they have collected just two points, and they currently sit seven points behind Villa in ninth place.