Blossoming talent Ollie Watkins has been a shining light for Exeter City since bursting onto the scene over the last couple of seasons.
Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans was thwarted in his £350,000 bid for the youngster this week, having been an admirer since his time as Leeds United boss.
But Watkins has many other admirers at a higher level and it was always going to be tough to persuade him to come to the One Call Stadium.
Click HERE to see Watkins’ five goals from last month
Watkins the target for Stags’ club record bid – click HERE to read story
Lomas on Stags column on Watkins bid – click HERE to read
Here are five facts about the 21-year-old that make him hot property.
Watkins is the darling of the Exeter fans. Having been born nearby at Newton Abbott and come through the club ranks, the club sell tee shirts and mugs with ‘Ollie Watkins – He’s One of Our Own’ on them.
Striker Watkins has now notched 20 goals in 55 games for Exeter, starting 42 of those games. Watkins was awarded the Football League Young Player of the Month award last March, during which he scored seven goals in eight games.
On New Year’s Eve last month Watkins scored his first professional hat-trick in a 4-1 victory at Newport County. A loan spell at Weston-super-Mare in 2014/15 saw him underline his potential with 13 goals in 24 appearances.
Watkins was the West Country local derby hero last season when they trailed 1-0 to Plymouth. The youngster then wrote himself into the history books when he scored twice late on to win the game 2-1, the second of the goals was nominated for Sky Sports’ Goal of the Day.
Click HERE to see his wonder goal against Plymouth
Manager Paul Tisdale has described Watkins as ‘level-headed’ and ‘appreciative of his opportunity’ – qualities which will stand the youngster in good stead for the future.
The youngster is renowned for his pace, dribbling skills and strength – attributes that will see him thrive at all levels of the Football League.