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Juventus striker is not on Watford’s transfer radar

Watford are keen to sign a striker next month but it will not be Simone Zaza, the Juventus forward linked heavily with the Hornets in the Italian press last night.

Zaza, 24, is being talked about as an €18m January target for Watford by Italian website www.calciomercato.com but our well-placed sources at Vicarage Road say there is no interest in the Italy international whatsoever.

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Capped seven times by his country, Zaza’s talents are appreciated by the decision makers at Watford, particularly as he has scored against Udinese, but he does not fit the profile of the target they are looking for. The club are also not looking to spend that type of money being quoted, not in this window anyway.

Unable to get in ahead of Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic at Juve, Zaza is a more realistic loan target for Udinese. That is who Nicola Salerno, the consultant sporting director at Watford, could have been referring to when he is quoted as saying:

“He is a very important striker, everyone’s aware about it. We want to understand if Juventus eager to sell him.”

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Salerno, who joined from Leeds United last season, is based at the club’s training ground in London Colney and is part of the transfer committee that includes Gino Pozzo, Scott Duxbury, sporting director Luke Dowling and chief scout Filippo Giraldi. The club have made it clear they are in the hunt for a striker and one of the worst kept secrets on the grapevine is that Watford are in for Emmanuel Adebayor.

“The transfer window is still far away, but we have already shortlisted some strikers that we would like to sign,” said Salerno to the same website. “We are keeping every option open and we’ll evaluate the best profile for the club along with the backroom staff.”

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The club’s Italian extensive connections helped them secure loan deals for Victor Ibarbo and Alessandro Diamanti. They have been limited to just 107 minutes of Premier League action under Quique Sanchez Flores and their spots in the squad could come under threat if Sanchez Flores is allowed to bring in more suitable foreign players.

“Ibarbo and Diamanti are two important and experienced players and we’ll talk with them in a few weeks in order to know which are their requests for the future,” said Salerno. “I don’t think they want to leave the club at the moment, but we still have to talk. Everything can happen.”