Goal-shy Watford will be pinning their hopes on the injection of unpredictable brilliance, searing pace and raw power of Adalberto Penaranda and Isaac Success next season to help transform their misfiring forward line.
Penaranda and Success will report for pre-season training with Watford in the summer and, as things stand, the club are confident the coveted Granada pair have the necessary attributes to stake a claim for a place in the Premier League squad and even push for a place in the starting XI.
The final decision on their suitability for the Premier League will rest with Quique Sanchez Flores, who will gauge their capacity for life in the top flight of English football, but all the signs point to them being named in next season’s Premier League squad instead of being sent out on loan.
The attacking options will be further increased by the likely signings of Liverpool’s England youth international winger Jerome Sinclair and Aly Malle, the teenage forward from Mali.
Penaranda, who is 19 in May, and Success, who turned 20 in January, have flanked a central striker for Granada in their recent upturn in form and looked full of running, directness and a huge threat on the counterattack. They would fit perfectly into the 4-3-3 formation Sanchez Flores is keen to implement next season.
The integration of the Venezuelan and the Nigerian, allied with a full pre-season for Obbi Oulare, Nordin Amrabat and Jose Manuel Jurado playing in a more advanced role and fully acclimatised to life in English football, leaves the coaching staff and recruitment team confident they have plentiful options to support Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo and prevent the team from being so reliant on the pair.
Sanchez Flores has also spoken recently of his wish to implement a more progressive attacking framework onto the defensive foundation he has spent much of the season building and implementing.
“When we do offensive training we train as a team so we shouldn’t just focus on Ighalo and Deeney as it’s not good for the players,” said the head coach earlier this month. “But maybe in this moment of the season we were expecting more goals from the players, but the season of Deeney and Ighalo has been amazing.”
Watford will never say never to adding another striker, as they have the financial resources to move swiftly should an opportunity too good to turn down presents itself, but they are not planning, at this stage, to add an out and out striker. Watford’s executive committee cooled their strong interest in Emmanuel Adebayor once a great run of results in December made another season of Premier League football look more than a distinct possibility.
The committee discussed reviving their interest when the team hit the skids in January but Sanchez Flores advised against it. The club, we gather, made a tentative enquiry for taking Loic Remy on a permanent deal in January but Chelsea were only looking to loan the Frenchman. League rules only allow you to loan one player from a fellow Premier League club and Watford already have Nathan Ake from Stamford Bridge.
The noises coming out of the club are that they do not anticipate selling Ighalo, unless they receive a truly eye-watering offer for a player who is contracted for four more years and who scored 14 league goals by the end of January, to ensure Premier League survival should, after one or two nervy moments, become a formality.