There will have been much hilarity (or banter, in footballer’s parlance) when news reached the training ground this morning that Troy Deeney has been linked with a move to Arsenal.
While the report is hugely flattering for Deeney and reflective of the fine season he has had, we look at five reasons (and there are more, trust us) why the fanciful link makes little sense:
REASON ONE: Deeney is the heartbeat of the club, the team’s soul and has been the one constant throughout the Pozzo era. He has a direct line into Gino, Scott Duxbury and Luke Dowling and was even kept abreast of the club’s transfer plans before he went off for his summer holiday. He’s involved in so many levels at the club that he’s friends with Miles Jacobsen, the brains behind Football Manager, the club sponsor. Can you imagine Deeney sitting down to discuss the club’s strategy with Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke? He’s so much more than just the captain and the talisman. Why would he go from being the biggest fish at Watford to a small fish in the great big pond at Arsenal? The Watford players can’t even leave the dinner table at an overnight stay until Deeney has finished.
REASON TWO: Watford do not need to sell any of their players. Not one. A senior figure at the club told us they wouldn’t even sell Ighalo if someone offered them £40m this month, and joked if Atletico Madrid were offering to buy his right arm with a figure of £12m. The football secretary Gayle Vowels would probably not even bother Pozzo and Scott Duxbury if a faxed arrived with a formal £20m offer for the captain. Watford look safe, even after picking up just one point in three Premier League games, but why would they do anything that would jeopardise the windfall of £100m plus next season by selling someone who has scored six goals and has five assists?
REASON THREE: Arsene Wenger is not known for his acquisition of English players. He signed Danny Welbeck this time last year and Callum Chambers the summer before last, but you have to go back to 2011 for the last time he instructed the board to buy a home-grown player. “English players could have more of a problem when they come from a smaller club to this club because of how big the pressure is,” Wenger said in February. “They go from being regular players at another club to having their position threatened and that they have to face competition from inside that they were not used to.”
REASON FOUR: Money. Most players get their head turned by money but Deeney does not strike you as that sort. He’s the highest paid player at the club and has enough money that he seriously contemplated chartering a helicopter from Sunderland to the O2 so he could watch Anthony Joshua in action. That is not the action of someone who is short of a bob or two.
REASON FIVE: Quique Sanchez Flores said this last month: “Deeney is completely passionate for this club, he is one of the main players, the spirit of the dressing room and [in terms of the] connection with the fans. I’m sure Deeney will stay here for a long [time].” The beginning of the end for Sanchez Flores at Atletico Madrid came weeks after they won the Europa League when the board sold Jose Manuel Jurado to Schalke. Watford are not about to undermine their head coach, who is gaining plenty of admirers, by selling his captain.