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Watford closing in on signature of Malaga goalkeeper

Watford are confident of concluding a deal to sign Malaga goalkeeper Idriss Kameni in the January transfer window.

Talks to bring the 71 cap Cameroon international, who turns 32 in February, to Vicarage Road are understood to be an advanced stage after the Hornets indicated they will be willing to activate a release clause in his contract that reportedly stands at around €1m. Kameni has made 16 appearances for Malaga this season, keeping a clean sheet in their most recent game against Atletico Madrid, the former club of Quique Sanchez Flores.

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Kameni has been playing in Spain since 2004, when he signed for Espanyol under Mauricio Pochettino before joining Manuel Pellegrini’s Malaga in 2012, so will be familiar to the Pozzos’ scouting network and also Sanchez Flores. Kameni will be acquainted with international teammate Allan Nyom and will have played against Jose Manuel Jurado and Odion Ighalo in La Liga.

The arrival of Kameni will increase Watford’s senior goalkeeping options and provide genuine competition and cover for Heurelho Gomes. He may, given his experience, leapfrog Giedrius Arlauskis as the No 2. Born in Douala, Cameroon, he counts as a foreign player, meaning at least one foreign member of the initial Premier League squad will be left out when the list is resubmitted at the end of January.

Picture by Franziska Empl
Picture by Franziska Empl

A work permit may prove a stumbling block. The work permit requirement for players without an EU passport is that they have to be an international from a country ranked within Fifa’s top 70 and have played 75 per cent of their country’s international matches in the last two years. Cameroon are ranked 59 but Kameni was only recalled to the national team last month after a two-year absence. There is an appeal process. And Watford managed to eventually secure a work permit for Victor Ibarbo.

Luke Simpson, the former Accrington Stanley stopper, was signed earlier this month to boost the Under-21 goalkeeping resources. He can be named as one of the unlimited number of U21 players a club is allowed to register with the Premier League.