24-year-old Watkins was in excellent form last season with his 26 goals helping the Bees to a third placed finish in the Championship. However, after losing in the play-off final, the striker is keen to leave the club and a host of Premier League sides are interested.
Fulham, West Ham, Leeds, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Brighton have all enquired but Villa are leading the race for Watkins' signature. Manager Dean Smith is a big fan, having previously brought him to Brentford back in 2017 for around £1.8m.
Since then, the forward's value has skyrocketed, with the Bees demanding £25m for their top scorer. Despite his hefty price tag, Villa remain confident of getting their man.
A source confirmed to 90min: "Dean Smith is very excited about being able to get Watkins, he thinks he could play a big part in taking Villa to the next level."
Villa are also keen on poaching Callum Wilson from relegated Bournemouth. The 28-year-old has impressed over the last two Premier League seasons, racking up 22 goals and 13 assists in 65 appearances.
Again, Villa are expected to face stiff competition for Wilson's services. 90min understands that Newcastle, Crystal Palace and West Ham are all eager to sign the England international. Despite the intense competition, Villa's interest is genuine. Sources close to the club suggest that they want to sign both Wilson and Watkins as they look to bolster their goal-shy frontline.
However, Newcastle hold the advantage. The Magpies are willing to include former Cherries favourite Matt Ritchie as a makeweight in a potential deal for Wilson. Ritchie has won multiple promotions from the Championship, making this an enticing offer for new Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall.