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Giedrius Arlauskis edging closer to Watford exit

Giedrius Arlauskis is believed to be in talks about a move away from Vicarage Road just half a season after joining the club as their second summer recruit on a four-year deal.

The Lithuanian No.1 is thought to be negotiating a move to RCD Espanyol who, ironically, were also in the hunt for Costel Pantilimon before he signed for Watford. Pantilimon, we can exclusively reveal, was on the verge of signing for AS Monaco before he met Watford’s chief executive Scott Duxbury on Sunday and agreed a three-and-a-half year deal.

Pictures by Franziska Empl
Pictures by Franziska Empl

The arrival of Pantilimon has pushed Arlauskis down to third choice at Vicarage Road and while he may be happy to see out the rest of the season as the No.3, before looking at his options in the summer, Watford cannot afford to have three of the 17 sought-after spots in the 25-man squad taken up by goalkeepers.

If you include Joel Ekstrand and Essaid Belkalem Watford have 19 senior foreign players and can only submit a maximum of 17 in the revised Premier League squad submitted at the start of next month. They are looking to add Mario Suarez, a Spaniard, and may pursue a deal for Jefferson Montero, the Ecuadorian, if Tottenham Hotspur play hardball over Andros Townsend.

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Arlauskis, like Alessandro Diamanti, Victor Ibabro and Steven Berghuis, has been a major disappointment since joining amid a flurry of summer activity. The 28-year-old looked a bag of nerves on his debut in the Capital One Cup tie at Preston North End, a tie watched live by Hornets legend Tony Coton, and was all at sea when he replaced the injured Heurelho Gomes at Aston Villa.

It speaks volumes for the lack of faith in Arlauskis that Gomes was given until the 11th hour to confirm his recovery from a heavy blow to the head for the game against Norwich City while, given his history of head injuries, Gomes should probably have been replaced at St Mary’s following a full-blooded collision with Sadio Mane.

While Rene Gilmartin is recovering from a dislocated kneecap, Quique Sanchez Flores seems happy with Nathan Gartside as the matchday No.3 while Luke Simpson can cover Gartside’s spot in the under-21 side.