Watkins is Villa’s top target in attack and is valued at £25million by the Championship club after scoring 26 goals in all competitions last season.
Villa’s initial attempt of around £18m is unlikely to match Brentford’s asking price but it is thought Watkins would be keen to work again with Dean Smith, who was Bees boss when Watkins moved to Griffin Park from Exeter in 2017.
Aston Villa are poised to bid £18million for Ollie Watkins but Brentford value him at £25million
The striker is thought to be keen on a reunion with former Brentford manager Dean Smith
Villa’s billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens will back Smith again in the market after committing more than £140million to transfers in the 2019-20 campaign, when Villa avoided relegation on the final day of the season with a 1-1 draw at West Ham.
As well as in attack, Smith is seeking reinforcements in goal, at full-back, in central midfield and wide.
Watkins’ Brentford team-mate Said Benrahma is another on his radar.
Watkins’ team-mate Said Benrahma is another player on the club's radar this summer
Meanwhile, Villa are expecting Douglas Luiz to start the campaign with them despite reports in Brazil that Manchester City may activate the midfielder’s buy-back clause in this transfer window.
Douglas joined Villa for £15m last summer, with City given the option to re-sign him in either of the next two summers.
It is understood, however, that City are not currently aiming to re-sign the 22-year-old at this stage.