Watford expect to complete a deal for Jerome Sinclair once the transfer window closes and the club have made an enquiry about signing Loic Remy but, at this stage, senior officials are comfortable with resuming their pursuit of a senior winger and striker in the summer.
Sinclair, we are told this afternoon, will join one of the Pozzos’ clubs on a long-term, pre-contract agreement next month. The winger, who can play on either flank, is in the last six months of his contract and as he rejected the Reds’ offer, Watford can offer him a contract without having to get Liverpool’s permission. As Sinclair is under the age of 24, Liverpool are entitled to compensation. The amount would be decided by the Professional Football Compensation Committee, if he moves to Watford, or Fifa if he joined Granada or Udinese.
Watford and Liverpool have failed to agree a fee for the player – Liverpool are reported to want £3m while Watford are not prepared to pay anywhere near that for a player who has less than six months left on his deal. The compensation would be considerably less if Sinclair were to, say, move to Udinese or Granada. The out of contract Danny Ings moved from Burnley to Liverpool in the summer. Burnley would have received £4m at a tribunal but the amount would have been as little as £250,000 had he moved abroad and signed for Real Sociedad. In an example of a domestic tribunal deal, Aaron Creswell rejected a new long-term contract offer at Tranmere and, at the age of 21, signed for Ipswich Town in 2011. The tribunal decided that Ipswich Town should pay Tranmere Rovers an initial compensation fee of £240,000 for the left-back.
Sinclair, 19, has played less than half an hour of Premier League football for Liverpool so he does not represent the kind of readymade, senior winger the recruitment committee have been searching for. However, given the home-grown player requirement under Premier League rules and the potential growth in value of the England youth winger, the club know they would be foolhardy not to land Sinclair for a cut price deal.
The club have been working for several days on deals to bring an experienced winger and a striker to Vicarage Road. Andros Townsend went to Newcastle United, a move for Real Madrid flyer Denis Cheryshev fell through and Chelsea, we gather, are only willing to loan Remy, the France striker. Watford, who made a polite enquiry about his availability, are only really interested in permanent deals, hence why they pulled out of the race to sign Emmanuel Adebayor, plus, under league rules, you cannot loan two players from the same club. Nathan Ake is at Watford from Chelsea on a season-long loan.
“We’ll leave [buying a striker] to the summer unless something pops up later,” said a high-ranking club official in the last hour.