Quique Sanchez Flores has confirmed Adalberto Peñaranda and Abdoulaye Doucoure will report for pre-season training with Watford in the summer, after both were signed on deadline day and farmed out to sister club Granada for the rest of the season.
Doucoure, as we reported yesterday, was signed six months ahead of schedule yesterday to avoid losing him to Liverpool and Sanchez Flores was not ready to rejig the maximum number of 17 foreign players he is permitted to name or have the time, during the business end of the season, to assimilate another young player. Clubs called Watford to ask if they could take Doucoure on loan but the club decided the best plan was to send him to Granada where he will play games against Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia. The plan is for the France Under-21 international to become an integral cog next season.
Peñaranda, who does not turn 19 until May, was coveted by some of the top clubs in Europe so, again, Watford had to move fast to make sure they were his preferred destination. The fact he is an Udinese player on loan at Granada obviously helped smooth the deal. Young players, such as Obbi Oulare and Steven Berghuis, have found it difficult to force their way in under Sanchez Flores, suggesting Peñaranda is another being considered for the future, especially with reports in Granada he will stay there for two-and-a-half years more. But our information yesterday was that Watford are very much considering him for next season, with a considered decision set to be taken in the summer once he has completed pre-season with Watford’s head coach and dependent on the quality of the attacking options they are able to sign in the summer.
“In the summer? Sure,” said Sanchez Flores when asked by us about his plans for the Venezuelan teenage sensation who is holding down a first team spot in La Liga, becoming the youngest player, even younger than Lionel Messi to score two goals in a game, against Levante in December. “We have lot of strikers now – we have Ighalo, Deeney, Amrabat but we don’t know what happens in the summer. We have a lot of good references [on this player]. I saw him from the moment he was in the [Granada] first XI, maybe two or three months ago, and he stayed there, playing every single week and becoming an important player. He had the conditions and qualities of the strikers we want. We follow him this year. He’s very good, a new player, he’s younger but he’s playing very well in Spain. He has power, he can score, fight a lot. This is the kind of spirit we want for players of the future.”
Peñaranda and Doucoure will work under Granada coach José Ramón Sandova for the rest of the season. Granada’s next game is against Real Madrid on Sunday.
“I know him [Sandova], for sure,” said Sanchez Flores. “I have lot of good relations with Spanish coaches. For any reason, I can call him.”