Miguel Layun admits it was a tough decision to swap life in the Premier League for Porto at the 11th hour of the transfer window, a move we understand is likely to be made permanent in the summer.
Quique Sanchez Flores was taken aback when the Mexican told him he was going to accept an offer to play in Portugal as the head coach is an admirer of the utility wide man and fielded him in each of the first four league games. It is unclear how the shock move come about – some say his agent pushed for the switch, another said Layun feared for his place in the national team if he was not going to be a regular while one source said he was allowed to leave to make room in the squad for a last-minute foreign signing which, in the end, did not materialise.
“It was not easy for everyone,” Layun told us exclusively in the aftermath of Porto’s 2-0 Champions League defeat at Chelsea last week. “Things happened very quick. I received a call that I should find some place. I spoke with my agent and we had a very good offer that came from Porto. I decided to come here. I do not regret any decision I take. It was a hard decision because it was very special for me to play in the Premier League, but things happen for a reason.”
Watford received a £500,000 loan fee for the 27-year-old, who is contracted at Vicarage Road until 2019, and negotiated an €8m buyout clause in the season-long loan deal. Layun has started everyone of Porto’s matches since he moved to Estadio do Dragao, except the Champions League win over Chelsea, scoring three times. The coach, Luis Castro, likes his versatility – he started at left-back at Stamford Bridge and finished up at right-back – and Layun is loving life in warmer climes with three of his countryman, Hector Herrera, Jesus Manuel Corona, Raul Gudino to keep him company. The likelihood is that Porto will activate the clause when the loan ends on June 1.
“I belong to Watford but Porto have the option to buy my contract,” he said. “I will wait until they decide what is going on. I just work and be ready to defend the colours I am in now. I can’t speak bad of Watford or bad of Porto. I am very happy at Porto and am trying to do my best. I’m trying to reach the goals we have with my team now – and I’m excited Watford are doing very well.”
Layun’s last game for Watford was as a second-half substitute against Manchester City, a result that left the Hornets with three points and two goals after four games. Now they sit in seventh.
“I saw Watford results,” said Layun. “I knew [they would do well] as they are a very good team, very strong and they know how to play the Premier League. I am very excited for them as I have a lot of friends there. They are also happy because I am doing well at Porto.”
Sanchez Flores has spoken often about his wish to have more than “13, 14, 15 players” he feels comfortable using. Layun would have been another trusted option had he stayed.
“I like him [Quique] very much too,” said Layun. “He’s a very special person. I just had a few weeks to work with him but he’s a very good coach and is a guy that knows how to get the best form you.”