A top England-based international journalist has backed Watford’s decision to part ways with Quique Sanchez Flores but is unconvinced Walter Mazzarri is the right man to replace him.
Gabriele Marcotti, who writes for, among others, The Times, will know the Pozzo family well and he sounded very much like someone with intimate knowledge of the decision-making at Vicarage Road when discussing the reasoning behind the departure of Sanchez Flores.
“The Pozzos’ business model works on spending millions on their scouting network and the list of players they have found is unbelievable, like Alexis Sanchez,” he said on The Game podcast. “So [if you are a head coach under them] you can play the veterans to help you stay up but they then want to promote the kids and sell them. Watford were flying along, with 29 points from 19 games, and then he [Sanchez Flores] decides he wants two veterans, Amrabat and Suarez, to build on this. They said: ‘OK, fine but we’ll take a run at Europe [with these two] but we also have these kids, like Berghuis and Oulare, we’d like you to play. They didn’t make the top six and didn’t play Berghuis and Oulare. For next season, their plan, and it’s no secret, is to get two young players, Penaranda and Success, from Granada, who they want to bring in and play. You have to follow the model that’s been a success for these owners for the last three decades.”
Mazzarri, 54, is the man Gino Pozzo and chief executive Scott Duxbury quickly identified as their No 1 target to replace Sanchez Flores, showing their faith in him by handing him an unprecedented three-year contract and allowing him to bring in nine members of staff.
“He wouldn’t be my choice for Watford,” said Marcotti. “I think it’s a curious decision. He had some major personality clashes at Inter, although you could chalk that up to Inter being a basket case of a club. He fell out with people towards the end of his time at Napoli. His football isn’t much to shout about and he gives me the sense of someone who has big ambitions beyond Watford.”
Mazzarri starts officially working on July 1, the players report back on July 3 and his first game in charge of Watford will be at Woking on Sunday July 10. Click HERE to read our in-depth profile of the former Sampdoria, Napoli and Inter Milan manager.