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Watford up ante in the transfer market as deadline day looms

Watford’s executive and recruitment team have been presented with the chance to treble their expected activity on deadline day, with talks now ongoing with three targets.

Quique Sanchez Flores confirmed on Thursday that Watford were only considering adding a winger to their squad as the January deadline loomed, but things change rapidly and we can reveal the club are in negotiations today to add another midfielder and a striker before the window shuts at 11pm tomorrow. The club have a shortlist of targets for every position and the landmark deal for Mario Suarez, their lofty Premier League position and their FA cup run means targets have become available earlier than expected. We were told earlier this month that agents of players Watford missed out on in the summer were now reopening lines of communication and suggesting their clients would now be receptive to a transfer to Vicarage Road.

Abdoulaye Doucoure, who has been named on the bench this afternoon for Rennes’ game at Bordeaux, was on the verge of joining Watford in the summer for a club record fee but, in a story we broke, he opted to stay in France as his partner was pregnant. We can confirm the interest in the athletic France Under-21 midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has been officially revived, as we reported earlier this month it might be.

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A move for the 23-year-old would require room to be made in the Premier League squad. Watford already have 18 foreign players and only 17 can be submitted. Sanchez Flores has made no secret to add a genuine winger to the squad and this pursuit has been stepped up after the club missed out on Andros Townsend. Nordin Amrabat can play out wide but it was significant that he was used through the middle against Nottingham Forest yesterday.

It was thought Watford had ended their hunt for a striker after signing Amrabat but the original plan was to try and recruit a potential long-term successor to Odion Ighalo this month as they club know how difficult it will be to hang onto the free-scoring Nigerian in the summer. The remainder of the largely pressure-free season would be ideal to bed anyone in. Landing a striker between the age of Obbi Oulare, 20, and Ighalo, 26, was the objective. Emmanuel Adebayor was on the verge of joining Watford as soon as the January transfer window opened but the goalposts shifted for Watford when it became clearer they were likely to be safe and did not require a short-term solution until the end of the season to help keep them up.

If deals are closed for a winger and a striker, it would increase the possibility of Steven Berghuis and Oulare going out on loan, although Oulare does not take up a place in the Premier League squad as he is Under-21. Neither travelled to Nottingham on Saturday despite starting the last round.