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Watford to trim the squad… but hands off Valon Behrami

More peripheral players will be following Alessandro Diamanti and Victor Ibarbo out of the door this month but one of them will looks highly unlikely to be Valon Behrami.

Behrami was an unused substitute against Manchester City and Southampton and was dropped from the squad to face Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The team who underperformed so horribly at St Mary’s looked to be crying out for the tenacity and edginess of the Switzerland international.

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“Behrami has been important in the first part of the league,” Sanchez Flores said. “He gave us a lot in the first part of the season to get us in the top half of the table but, at this moment, he’s not happy because he doesn’t play. But he’s a very important player for us.”

Asked if he would like to keep the midfielder, Sanchez Flores said: “Yes. He’s an important part of the future with the Watford team.”

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Signed from Hamburg in the summer, Behrami looked a nailed on starter every week after impressing with his tigerish midfield play in the first four matches. Yet the sending off, against Swansea, who are Monday’s opponents, turned things on its head.

“This match changed a lot for Behrami,” said the head coach. “He was out for three games and then came the injury. He is always waiting and expecting, and he has experience and is strong character. I hope he recovers [his place] as quick as possible.”

Behrami is itching for match action, particularly with Euro 2016 on the horizon, but it has been reiterated to us he will not be sold this month. He has been told to fight for his place.

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Sanchez Flores, however, was happy to let Alessandro Diamanti and Victor Ibarbo leave.

“It’s the best for everyone, best for the team, best for the players,” said the head coach. “These players get frustrated and I don’t want players who are not happy with us. I want the best for them. More players are going to leave.”

They will, you suspect, be Essaid Belkalem and Lloyd Dyer.