Amrbat

Watford edge closer to first January signing but Mario Suarez deal is off

Watford are close to signing Nordin Amrabat from Malaga in a club record deal and although they have ended their interest in signing Mario Suarez, they remain in talks with the player’s agent about other targets.

Amrabat, the 28-year-old Moroccon international winger born in Holland, is on the verge of becoming the club’s first signing of the January window for a fee being reported in Spain of £6.08m, eclipsing the money they paid Tottenham Hotspur for Etienne Capoue.

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The capture of a player, who began his career at PSV Eindhoven, raises grave doubt about whether Watford are prepared to wait the until the end of the month for Daniel Levy to decide if they will do business over Andros Townsend.

Amrabat has played 13 times for Malaga this season, including the 2-2 draw with Granada and was sent off against Real Madrid. He can play as a winger or as a No.9, a No.10 or a winger, providing the much needed speed and power Quique Sanchez Flores has been searching for. Hopes of a double transfer swoop on Malaga will hinge on the outcome of the 48-hour deadline the Spanish club have apparently given Idriss Kameni, the Cameroon goalkeeper, to sign a new contract.

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Amrabat is, we are told, expected in England shortly to finalise terms and complete his two-part medical which will no doubt make sure he has recovered fully from knee surgery he had earlier this season. He was out for nearly two months with a meniscus problem and had an operation in Holland. Amrabat has been booked four times in his eight appearances since returning from injury and his aggressive, all-action approach is the kind of characteristics the head coach is looking for.

Suarez does not have the greatest disciplinary record either – 57 cautions in five seasons – however he will not be joining Amrabat at Watford. The Hornets have ended their interest in bringing the Fiorentina midfielder to Vicarage Road and will move down their shortlist of holding midfielders.

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Representatives of Suarez confirmed to us this morning they had held talks with Watford over bringing him to the Premier League.

“We are speaking with some clubs, four or five from England and some in Italy and Spain,” a spokesman for Manuel Garcia Quilon exclusively told us this morning. “There is nothing right now and maybe we don’t do it for the moment.”

Suarez was signed by Sanchez Flores at Atletico Madrid in 2011 and cost Fiorentina £10.5m in the summer.

“Mario worked with Quique in Spain. I don’t know if he wants to work with Quique now.”

Quilon used to represent Sanchez Flores until 2011 and has an impressive client list, including Felipe Luis, Raul Albiol and Javi Garcia. Like super agent Mino Raiola, he appears to have a long-standing relationship with Watford’s owner.

“Yes, we spoke with Watford but for many issues – not just for Mario,” he said. “We have tight relations with Gino.”