Andros Townsend remains a firm target for Watford and, we are told, they would be prepared to smash their club record bid to land the England winger, but they are only really interested in a permanent deal and will not be dragged into a bidding war.
Quique Sanchez Flores is a confirmed admirer of the Tottenham Hotspur winger, who can play on either flank, and it has been widely reported the Hornets have submitted a bid upwards of £10m. Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, has not earned a reputation as one of the game’s fiercest transfer negotiators by accepting the first bid that arrives on the White Hart Lane fax machine, particularly when two other clubs (Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion) are interested in signing a player no longer part of the club’s plans and one contracted to the club until the summer of 2017.
Yet Watford’s chief executive Scott Duxbury and owner Gino Pozzo are hardly pussy cats around the negotiating table – just ask Reading about the protracted nature of the talks to get Matej Vydra to the Madejski Stadium – and this could led to plenty of toing and froing and brinkmanship between now and Monday 1 February. Tottenham’s summer pursuit of Saido Berahino went down to the wire and broke down amid acrimony over the staging of payments. There is talk of Watford being interested in Jefferson Montero and Matty Phillips, two players who could be contingency options if the club decide to pull out of the running for Townsend.
Watford have already done business with Spurs over Etienne Capoue and struck a deal to sign Benjamin Stambouli before the player opted to move to PSG, so relations are cordial. The odds on Watford being Townsend’s next club shortened dramatically last night, a sign Watford may be looking to step up their pursuit of their key targets following four straight defeats.
“It’s all about rumours, nothing is clear,” said Mauricio Pochettino yesterday. “It is true that Andros is in a position that he doesn’t not play too much for us. He doesn’t play in the few months and he wants to play. If some possibility arrives it always the club who decides.”
The attraction of remaining in London, training two junctions around the M25 from Spurs’ training ground and linking up with Heurelho Gomes and Capoue will no doubt appeal to Townsend. His wages will also not present a problem for the club. If they get the opportunity to officially speak to the player, it will come down to whether Sanchez Flores and Scott Duxbury get the vibe from the player, who had a very short spell at the club in 2011, that he sees his long-term future at Watford or if the club is just a vehicle for him to fulfil his short-term goal of making the England squad for Euro 2016.