Watford may look to do one more piece of transfer business before the transfer window closes tomorrow but such is the foresight being deployed at Vicarage Road these days, plans are already well underway to make significant signings this summer.
Internationals Costel Pantilimon, Nordin Amrabat and Mario Suarez have all been recruited this month – and one senior club official vowed to us, after the deal for Suarez was rubber-stamped, that “this is just the start of the journey” in a message that will excite all Watford fans.
The Hornets may still look to add a winger in this window after refusing to go to the lengths Newcastle United did in persuading Andros Townsend to change his mind over his preferred choice, but Sanchez Flores is happy that Amrabat can provide the width and cover for Troy Deeney and Ighalo in the remaining 15 league games and FA Cup run. The prudent officials at the club know there are areas of the team they need to upgrade but they don’t want to panic buy, preferring to put the money towards judicious, well thought out signings in the summer.
Sanchez Flores is an admirer of Pablo Sarabia, the 23-year-old Getafe playmaker. He is out of contract in the summer but was left out of the squad against Athletic Bilbao yesterday.
“If we don’t get the right, right player [in January] we prefer to wait the next summer,” said Sanchez Flores.
There is an interest in Liverpool winger Jerome Sinclair but, at 19 and with only 25 Premier League minutes under his belt, he doesn’t fit the bill of a player Sanchez Flores wants to come in and hit the ground running. One source who has worked with Sinclair said: “He’s nowhere near it yet but maybe able to handle it in a couple of years time.”
The business Watford did on the final day of the summer window, bringing in Victor Ibarbo, in particular, Obbi Oulare and Adlene Guedioura, is a reminder of the pitfalls of doing deals at the death. They have not made a Premier League start between them.
Given the importance placed on training and integration, Watford will look to provide the head coach with as many of the targets as possible by the time the players return for pre-season training, giving Sanchez Flores as much time as possible to assimilate them into his plans.
“I am excited about this idea for Watford,” Sanchez Flores said. “In the summer we are able to bring Capoue, Britos, Behrami, Prodl [et al] and now we are able to bring Amrabat, Mario and Pantiliom. It means we are growing constantly. That’s why it’s important to keep in the Premier League because next season it could be an amazing experience to check how many good players could come here.”
Watford can name 25 players in the Premier League squad but Sanchez Flores prefers to work with a smaller group. He prefers quality over quantity.
“I prefer to have less players and more possibilities to change than a very big squad that I don’t trust four or five players,” he said. “That doesn’t make sense. I am happy we reduce the squad and have more players I know that I have confidence in.”