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“We obviously want to keep Sanchez Flores,” says Watford chief

Watford’s sporting director has expressed a willingness to retain the services of Quique Sanchez Flores as the head coach prepares to enter the final year of his contract.

“For us to get Quique in the first place was a huge coup,” Luke Dowling told the Daily Mirror. “We obviously want to keep him. He has had the experience of managing the big clubs – the Benficas, the Valencias and the Atletico Madrids. Also the big players: the Silvas and the Agueros. Now we want him to take us to the next level.”

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Luke Dowling with Troy Deeney. Picture by Paul Dawson

The Hornets have hit the skids since they beat Liverpool before Christmas, winning two of the following 13 league games and finding goals at a premium, scoring in just six of those matches. A thrilling run to the semi-final of the FA Cup has, depending on your standpoint, either masked the dip in league form or been a welcome bonus to the priority of staying in the league. The win over Arsenal certainly put Sanchez Flores on the radar of clubs looking to recruit a new coach this summer.

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Picture by Paul Dawson

“Watford should be having contract extension talks with Quique already,” said Phil Thompson, the former Liverpool defender and assistant coach, on Soccer Saturday. “They should not want to lose him. After all the managerial changes they have had, they have found an absolute diamond. He has been extremely good with his players, with his tactics, he has been a great face for the football club, doesn’t get too carried away when they have good victories and doesn’t get too down or blaming everybody when things go wrong.

“[If I was Watford] I would be a bit worried about losing this guy, to clubs here or in Europe. Tie him down quickly. Does he maybe see himself moving? This is a good football club, they can makes themselves nice and sitting around the middle of the table, and then progress. He has been fantastic and there will be suitors looking. Nail him down now.”

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Picture by Paul Dawson

We reported earlier this month that the club are relaxed about Sanchez Flores’ contractual situation and the plan remains to discuss a contract extension once the dust has settled on what may yet turn out to be the greatest season in the club’s history.

“I don’t like to talk about contract in the middle of the season, the most important part of the season,” said Sanchez Flores earlier this month. “I am happy, really comfortable and really pleased with fans of Watford how they support me and the team. It is not a question about the contract. We talk about [it] in May and we take a decision with the owner. We are not worried. The club is going to grow a lot in the next year. This is a humble team but it is improving the training ground, the quality of the players, the quality of the pitch and the stadium. We are working hard for the fans to enjoy the experience.”

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Picture by Paul Dawson

Sanchez Flores has never spent more than two and a bit seasons at one club. He was lured away from Getafe by Valencia after just one season, left in the October of his third season at Valencia, served 13 months at Benfica and was in charge of Atletico Madrid for less than two seasons. An 18-month stint at Al Ahli was followed by a six-month spell at Al Ain. The shortest spell was a seven-week assignment at Getafe last year.

However, he has spoken to us numerous times about how life in London suits him and his young family and how now, if the circumstances are right, might be the time to put down some roots.