Watford will beat off competition from Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion to sign Mario Suarez this week – and we can reveal the Hornets are also in pole position to sign Andros Townsend.
WD Sport can confirm Suarez, the Spain international midfielder, has agreed in principle to move to Vicarage Road and the finer details of the transfer fee are being thrashed out with Fiorentina this weekend. The deal, which could be a club record given Fiorentina, according to Transfermarkt, paid £10.5m for him in the summer, should go through this week, barring any last-minute hiccups. Initial talks with Suarez, 28, and his representative Manuel Garcia Quilon broke down over demands for a five-year contract. It is expected Suarez, like Nordin Amrabat and Costel Pantilimon, will agree a three-and-a-half year deal. He could even come into contention for the FA Cup game at Nottingham Forest.
Signing Suarez, who played in Spain’s midfield alongside Andres Iniesta, Koke and Xavi in a World Cup qualifier less than two and a half years ago, would represent a huge coup for the club who have pipped Liverpool and West Bromwich to his signature. The player still has ambitions of making Spain’s Euro 2016 squad.
And the signing of Suarez will not conclude the Hornets’ business this month. We are told by a source close to the deal that Vicarage Road is Townsend’s preferred option and he will sign for Watford if a club record deal can be struck with Daniel Levy. The Hornets are prepared for negotiations with the Tottenham Hotspur chairman to go right to the wire and a deal may not be struck until Monday, February 1. Unlike West Brom, who got involved in a public spat with Levy over the aborted transfer of Saido Berahino, Watford have good relations with Levy after agreeing, fairly swiftly, deals to sign Etienne Capoue and Benjamin Stambouli.
The fee for Townsend is likely to be between £12m and £14m and would represent a landmark signing for the Hornets, as it would be the first current England international they have ever signed. Tottenham are not renowned as the biggest payers of wages in the league so, as was the case with Capoue, Townsend’s salary expectations will be within the club’s financial reach.
Bringing Pantilimon, Amrabat, Suarez and Townsend to Vicarage Road would be a huge statement of intent and show the club’s ambition beyond the end of this season. It is a far cry from the club’s January dealings the last time they were in the Premier League:
Moses Ashikodi (undisclosed)
Will Hoskins (£500,000)
Lee Williamson (£500,000)
Steve Kabba (£500,000)
Gareth Williams (£600,000)
Johan Cavalli (Free)
Cedric Avinel (Free)
Douglas Rinaldi (Six month loan)