Premier League clubs resubmit their squads at the end of next month once the transfer window shuts for another season. It gives them the chance to use the next month to ship out those who are out of favour, those with long-term injuries and create room for some January buys or loans.
To refresh your memory, each Premier League team can only register 25 players over the age of 21. Of those 25 players, no more than 17 can be foreign players. In other words, if the Hornets want to submit the maximum 25 names to the Premier League they have to have at least eight home-grown players. A team can submit less than 25 names but still only 17 can be foreign. An unlimited number of U21 players can be named.
Watford only submitted 24 names at the beginning of September, because they did not have another home-grown player over the age of 21. Sean Murray is now back but it is extremely unlikely he will fill that berth.
With the window opening a week on Friday, Watford need to shuffle their resources to make room for the addition of at least a goalkeeper, a winger and a forward – plus Joel Ekstrand whom Sanchez Flores is keen to add to the list. Below, we go through everyone who made the initial 24-man squad to assess their chances of being retained. However, the shock departure of Miguel Layun on the eve of the last window shows anything is possible and how quickly things can change.
There was a small doubt about whether he would be still be here as the summer window drew to a close but not anymore. Quique Sanchez Flores never wanted him to go and the way he stuck so diligently and tenaciously to his task against Liverpool showed just why he was retained and why Matej Vydra and Fernando Forestieri weren’t.
Valuable squad player who warrants his place in the 25-man squad for his versatility as much as his nationality. Might now revert to being an impact sub but his work ethic sets the standard in training.
Caused a few in the recruitment team to sit rather uncomfortably at Villa Park when he replaced the stricken Heurelho Gomes and was alarmingly shaky. However, they have not lost faith in the Lithuanian No 1 and he will be the No 2 for the rest of the season.
There was paper talk of him going to Udinese on loan but that’s an absolute non starter. He’s a big part of what is going on at the training ground and is exactly the type of character and player Sanchez Flores wants around. The only thing we did notice was how swiftly he disappeared down the tunnel at full time on Sunday but that may mean nothing.
Gained a place in the Premier League squad by default as there were no other fit foreign players at the club who had not been sold or loaned. Was never going to be used by Sanchez Flores and would have been sold or a loaned in the summer if he had accepted one of the offers on the table. His professionalism, however, was noted in the Under-21 Premier League Cup win over Birmingham. His spot is likely to go to Ekstrand.
The club are not worried about his lack of involvement. The form of the team and their healthy financial situation means they can afford to be patient with the Dutchman. A loan deal could be possible depending on who comes into the building but he’ll keep his spot in the resubmitted squad.
Do you want to tell him he won’t be in the squad? No, us neither.
One of the first names on the squad list.
Now an established Premier League defender.
Don’t be fooled by his recent restoration to the bench. He’s only been included to provide left-back cover, because if Britos or Cathcart went down injured, Ake would be moved inside to centre-half. He’ll be out the door in January, freeing up a foreign-player spot.
Rumours of a return to Italy just won’t go away. He’s apparently one of the best players in training and his dress sense is the subject of much amusement, so there is no problem with his attitude or application. He just isn’t going to find a way past Deeney or Ighalo anytime soon. An amicable termination of his loan deal is on the cards.
Spotted for the first time at a game in weeks on Sunday when he chatted with Paul Robinson at half-time. Again, faultless in his attitude and application and nothing like the surly character he seems, but he has been looking for a permanent home since the Friday before the pre-season win at Dundee United.
Will lose his Premier League spot but through no fault of his own. With only 25 slots available, Watford cannot afford for a place to be taken up by an injured player so his position will either go to another goalkeeper (Luke Simpson counts as an U21 player) or an outfield player.
Eight clean sheets so far. Enough said.
Not been used as much as he or anyone would have liked but don’t let that cast doubt over his future. Sanchez Flores would love to be able to use him and would have started him against Norwich had he been 100 per cent fit but how can you change an XI performing like this right now? His time will come.
One of the few summer signings who hasn’t worked out and is likely to leave. He just hasn’t grasped what the head coach wants and the fact Sanchez Flores walked in well before half time of the game against Colchester U21s, when Ibarbo played, said plenty. His lack of English has not helped his integration. Those who lined up the deal to bring him here feel he should be given a chance but it’s difficult to argue with a head coach whose stock is so high.
Unless Watford are offered £50m, which they won’t be, then he isn’t going anywhere in January. Whether he is in Watford’s Premier League squad at the start of next season is another question but let’s take it one window at a time.
Jose Manuel Jurado
Nailed on to still be here, despite what his critics say. We’ll see the very best of him in the second half of the season.
Started every game so far and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Juan Carlos Paredes
No-one’s fortunes have swung quite like his. He looked unlikely to make the cut in the summer yet stayed and after a slow start, played so well off the bench he got a start at Aston Villa. Hardly covered himself in a glory at Villa Park and has not really featured since. Said after the defeat at Leicester he may look to leave next month. He may get his wish.
The forgotten man of Watford’s solid but unspectacular start to the first couple of months to the season. His time will come again once he is fully fit.
Out of contract at the end of season and likely to move on then, at the latest, to kickstart his career. May leave in January if Watford get a good offer / settle the rest of his contract, but likely to be needed to make sure the stretched U21 side competitively fulfils its fixtures. Won’t need us to tell him he got an unlikely spot in the 24-man squad because of his nationality.
An increasingly influential member of the team. The yin to Capoue’s yang. Sanchez Flores loves him.
Stayers: Almen Abdi, Ikechi Anya, Giedrius Arlauskis, Valon Behrami, Steven Berghuis, Miguel Britos, Etienne Capoue, Craig Cathcart, Troy Deeney, Heurelho Gomes, Adlene Guedioura, Odion Ighalo, Jose Manuel Jurado, Allan Nyom, Sebastian Prodl, Ben Watson (16)
Goers (if takers are found): Essaid Belkalem, Jose Holebas, Lloyd Dyer
Off the list through injury: Rene Gilmartin
Their agents will be on standby: Alessandro Diamanti, Victor Ibarbo, Connor Smith, Juan Carlos Paredes
Player to be added: Joel Ekstrand
Potential spots available: 7 (four home-grown and three foreign)
NB: Obbi Oulare, Tommie Hoban and Nathan Ake are under the age of 21 and therefore do not take up a place in the roster.