The conversations between head coach and owner will be regular at the training ground over the next three weeks as Watford step up their pursuit of their transfer targets. Quique Sanchez Flores, Gino Pozzo, as well as chief executive Scott Duxbury, sporting director Luke Dowling, chief scout Fillipo Giraldi and recruitment consultant Nicola Salerno, will sit down for lunch in the far corner of the dining area at UCL in London Colney and discuss how close they are to closing a deal and if and when they should start moving down their shortlist. It’s a well-oiled, transparent and comprehensive process. No stone is left unturned. There is no chance whatsoever of anyone being signed without Sanchez Flores’ knowledge. It’s not the way Pozzo and Duxbury do business.
“I love to talk about football with Gino,” Sanchez Flores told us when we asked him about his harmonious relationship with the owner. “He’s clever, he’s intelligent, has clear ideas; this is the kind of person who can help you improve as a manager, as a coach.”
Sanchez Flores has worked under some demanding and challenging owners, presidents and boards of directors during his time at Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Benfica. The key decisions, meanwhile, at a club in the UAE, where Sanchez Flores managed two teams, are often made on the whim of a wealthy Sheikh. You only have to look at the controversy surrounding Leeds United and Leyton Orient to realise how fortunate Watford are to have landed the right owner from Italy.
“There’s been a lot of foreign owners come into English football but I reckon you’d do very well, very well to find anyone like Mr Pozzo,” said Troy Deeney in the matchday programme for the game against Tottenham Hotspur. “He’s in the background but always approachable to us and he is determined to do right by the club and make sure it’s a going to be taken care of a long time into the future.”
The quote issued on behalf of Gino gave when he fired Billy McKinlay can be applied to just about any situation or decision taken at the club under his watch. “Our job is to always to act in the best long-term interests of this football club,” he said. “There can be no compromise on this – whatever the circumstances.”
He’s as ruthless as he is judicious and is not afraid to make big calls, like breaking the club’s transfer record to sign Etienne Capoue who was in the deep freeze at Spurs.
“I met Gino and I understand his speech very quickly,” said Capoue in the matchday programme. “He is a very clever person, and very ambitious, and we want to go towards the same goal.”
Capoue’s move to Watford was facilitated by his agent’s long-standing relationship with Gino Pozzo. Even Mino Raiola, Capoue’s representative, could not have expected the move to Vicarage Road to work out so well for his client.
“If you have a good team spirit, you have good results, so Gino Pozzo, the gaffer and the staff created a very good atmosphere from the beginning between the players, and we carried it on this way,” said Capoue.
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