Quique Sanchez Flores has assured Watford fans, nervous by the lack of transfer activity so far, that “big players” will sign for Watford this month and said, for the first time, that Andros Townsend has the qualities he is looking for in a wide player.
Bournemouth, Newcastle and Sunderland have all been active in the window so far but they are shopping in a different market to Watford who are looking more long-term and are waiting until the right deal, both financially and player wise, presents itself. They are in the market for a goalkeeper, a holding midfielder, a winger and a striker but want the players to not only represent an upgrade on what they have but also be savvy enough to know they are not going to walk straight into this highly-efficient and high-achieving team.
“We are going to sign players, for sure,” said Sanchez Flores told us this morning. “We are going to sign big players in the way Watford fans want and deserve.”
Andros Townsend is extremely high on the club’s shortlist. He reminded his suitors of his ability by scoring twice for a Tottenham Hotspur Under-21 side jointly coached by Nigel Gibbs in a nine-goal thriller with Chelsea U21s last night. He is not in the plans of Mauricio Pochettino, who was not impressed by the way he handled a disagreement with the club’s fitness coach, and Spurs are receptive to offers.
His valuation (somewhere between £10m and £14m) or his wages will not dissuade the Hornets from moving for him, but there is some suggestion Townsend would only be keen on a loan move to help him achieve his short-term goal of making England’s Euro 2016 squad. With the prospect of at least another season in the Premier League, Watford are looking at longer term deals and, like with Juan Manuel Iturbe, may not be able to guarantee him a place in the starting XI the minute he walks in the door.
“He has the characteristics we are looking for,” said Sanchez Flores. “We have players in the side who can play intelligent football, like Abdi, like Jurado, but we need players with power and velocity. We need to make a balance.”
Sanchez Flores reiterated his stance of not commenting on the flurry of players linked with a move to Watford, stressing that “the names we want were fixed two months ago” and that the January window “is more difficult than the summer”. However, the modest and humble head coach did accept that Watford’s position, its location and his own standing in the European game, not to mention his contacts book, makes Watford a very attractive option for targets.
“It is important the players know the coach,” he said. “If they choose here it is not necessary because they know me because Watford is enough attractive, with it being in the Premier League, it being an organised team and it being a very nice club which have amazing fans. But some players need to know how it is working with the manager or the coach. If I have the experience, like I have with Jurado and Mario Suarez, and they know me then they have more reason to come. The coach is part of the process, not the main. A lot of good players, very big players, want to come here. I know the impact of Watford in Spain. They have a lot of fans there and they know all the players here, not just Jurado.”
It says a lot about Sanchez Flores’ powers of persuasion that he was able to lure Jurado here when Watford were being tipped for a swift return to the Championship. The head coach also came within a whisker of convincing Joaquín to come, too. Allied with the scouting network of the Pozzos and the connections and negotiation skills of Scott Duxbury, Watford are a formidable presence in the transfer market.
“For sure,” said the head coach. “I can understand the process. First you get promoted and then after you need to show you are able to build strong project. After that you show everyone you have space for the big players. We want big players to come for Watford for the future. There is a a lot of money in this league but this club is clever and makes a balance between salary and creating the right atmosphere.”