Who would you include? 7 spots up for grabs in Watford squad Report / Watford FC

Quique Sanchez Flores will officially submit his 25-man squad to the Premier League at 5pm on September 1 and the news will be made public shortly after. We’ve formed our own selection committee and named 18 certainties in the squad, including Steven Berghuis, the forward on his way in a club-record deal from AZ Alkmaar. That leaves seven available spots – between the 21 remaining members of the squad. And that’s not accounting for any further new faces who arrive between now and the end of the window. Lex Immers is a target, the deal for Diego Perotti is not dead yet and Gino Pozzo is known to want an out-and-out striker to provide cover and competition for Troy Deeney.

And don’t be fooled by the awarding of new contracts and new arrivals. Crystal Palace signed Stephen Dobbie and Florian Marange in the summer of 2013 and gave Owen Garvan a new two-year deal but none of them made Ian Holloway’s 25-man squad that season.

We discuss below those who will be inked in, those names written in pencil, those players who will be sweating and those whose chances are minimal. And don’t forget eight of the squad have to be homegrown. The squad list is resubmitted in January.


Troy Deeney
20 goals for the last three seasons and man around which the team is built. Need we say more?

Heurelho Gomes
The No 1 keeper unless he gets injured or starts to make a series of mistakes

Sebastian Prodl
You don’t sign someone from Werder Bremen on a five-year deal and not put him in the squad, do you?

Matej Vydra
When he scored for West Brom in the Premier League they never lost.

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Allan Nyom
Would you leave him out?

Jose Holebas
Kept Ashley Cole out of the Roma team so will have no problem usurping Daniel Pudil

Almen Abdi
There will be a riot if he was left out of the 25-man squad.

Etienne Capoue
Rivals Deeney in terms of salary and importance to the team.

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Craig Cathcart
Relegated with Blackpool in 2011. Will be given the chance to put that right.

Valon Behrami
CEO Scott Duxbury has signed him twice, once when at West Ham, so he’s a shoe-in.

Ikechi Anya
His versatility, likeability and British passport will earn him a spot.

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Gabriele Angella
Will be one of four senior centre-halves in the squad. Faces a fight to start

Ben Watson
Quique likes him and it was interesting to note how he is not just pigeon-holed as a holding midfielder – he played in a more advanced role against Paderborn. Plus, he’s English.

Giedrius Arlauskis
The competition and cover for Gomes

Rene Gilmartin
What if Gomes or Arlauskis get injured? There you go.

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Steven Berghuis
Watford haven’t broken their transfer record to leave him kicking his heels

Miguel Britos
Go on, you tell him he’s not in the squad.

Jose Manuel Jurado
He was dubbed a ‘Problem Child’ by a German newspaper so best not leave him out.

Tommie Hoban
Will be sweating slightly over a matchday squad spot as he didn’t feature at all against SC Paderborn 07. Ability to play all across the defence counts in his favour. He doesn’t feature in the 18 certainties as he doesn’t take up a spot as he is 21 (a club can name an unlimited number of Under-21 players).

Dennon Lewis
Could be what is described in rugby union selection parlance as a bolter, a player who comes from nowhere. The head coach fancies him and he ticks a few boxes, especially as he’s 18 and falls into the same category as Hoban. Again, he isn’t named in the 18 above for the same reason.


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Odion Ighalo
Despite half-a-dozen goals in pre-season and 23 in his last 24 Watford appearances no-one can categorically say Ighalo will be here at the start of the season. He’s yet to be given a bumper new contract and has been linked with moves elsewhere, notably to Aston Villa. He isn’t going to dislodge Deeney as the lone striker and the competition for the three spots behind is fierce. The Pozzos could just cash in on a very saleable asset.

Daniel Pudil
The understudy to Holebas but can Watford afford to carry two left backs? Hoban may pip him with adaptability and the colour of his passport.

Fernando Forestieri
Scored at AFC Wimbledon but injury saw him sent home from Germany, denying him the chance to further impress the head coach. His style is probably more suited to the Premier League, though. Maybe significant that he featured in the player walk-on shots filmed by Sky Sports on Wednesday for their live matches.


Juan Carlos Paredes
Difficult to see the Ecuadorian winning a spot. Watford could play three at the break if Nyom is injured while Hoban and Anya can play right-back. He only signed a four-year deal last season.

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Diego Fabbrini

Birmingham manager Gary Rowett is a huge admirer of the Italian and looks set to take him on loan, again. However, Quique threw us a curve ball when he replaced Deeney with Fabbrini at SC Paderborn.

Lloyd Dyer
The head coach likes his pace and the width Dyer puts on the game. Yet the former Leicester man’s chances of having the opportunity to properly win over the fans again are in the balance.

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Connor Smith
Some at the club fancy his chances of making the squad but can Quique afford to take a chance on someone with such a chequered injury record?

Cristian Battocchio
Sanchez Flores hasn’t got much time to make up his mind on the Italian Under-21 international as he wasn’t in Germany. A loan spell beckons.

Essaid Belkalem
Will probably be packing his bags for another loan spell unless one of the four centre-halves goes down injured.

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Miguel Layun
Underwhelmed in his first season at Vicarage Road and can’t see the club including a player just because he has huge appeal in Mexico.

Sean Murray
More than likely to go on loan, with Rotherham and Wigan keen takers and rumours of Birmingham, circulating but could just, only just, sneak into the 25-man squad. He just misses out on being an U21 player, meaning he would take up one of the eight remaining spots in the 25-man roster. However, he is homegrown.


Joel Ekstrand

Working his way back from a bad injury and will miss at least the rest of the year.


George Byers (below right), Jorell Johnson, Alfie Young (below left) Mahlando Martin (below), Bernard Mensah, Josh Doherty, Alex Jakubiak.

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Could Ighalo really not make the squad? Who should be left out for him? Have you say in our comment section below

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