It doesn’t feel like half a day has gone by this week without Watford being linked to some player or another. Italian players, in particular, are being linked left, right and centre now Watford have a Italian head coach to go with an Italian owner. In the first of our summer weekly round-ups for those who aren’t glued to it like us all week, we recap those who have been linked with a summer move to Vicarage Road and try to sort the wheat from the chaff with the understanding we have of the club’s recruitment plans this summer.
The Brazilian international played under Walter Mazzarri and is a high-class, left-sided defender. We know Watford are keen on him and if they pull this deal off for the 24-year-old, for what would easily be a record fee for a defender, it would be some statement.
Likelihood: If Pozzo and Duxbury can convince him to swap Milan for London Colney and the numbers add up, then the club will do this one.
There is interest in Ibe, as he fits the young age profile the club are seeking, but it’s only lukewarm and the situation regarding him and Joe Allen was described to us as “complex”. Despite an indifferent season – between the beginning of February and the middle of April, he played just 48 minutes of league football – the winger’s value will have gone up after his fine strike against West Brom on the final day. Watford don’t like paying over the odds.
Likelihood: If the numbers stack up, the club would do it but we’d say it’s a long shot. Plus, Jerome Sinclair is quite similar.
The right-back is a player Mazzarri has worked with twice before, at Sampdoria and Napoli so he’s an obvious one to link. Both Valon Behrami and Miguel Britos will know him well from their time in Naples. His agent, Massimo Briaschi, seems keen to get him out of Napoli and get him, at the age of 34, one last pay day.
Likelihood: Yes, Watford desperately need a right-back but last summer was the time when they signed experienced players around the 30 mark. The fact Maggio turns 35 in February would seem to rule this one out.
The anchoring midfielder is another who has worked with Mazzarri, this time at Reggina where they combined to help keep the southern Italian club in the top flight despite an 11-point deduction.
Likelihood: Watford are not short of experienced midfielders – Mario Suarez is 29, Valon Behrami 31 and Adlene Guedioura 30 – so they hardly need another one. Plus, Abdoulaye Doucoure is on his way to provide the dynamism from that area of the field.
This was a very modern transfer rumour, one that originated from Watford being one of the last three Twitter accounts the Southampton forward followed. Add to the fact he’s big mates with Miguel Britos and Inter Milan tried to sign him under Mazzarri, and bob’s your uncle.
Likelihood: We’ve been told this one is a non-starter. If Watford are looking for a forward then they’ll be looking at a bigger fish than someone who spent the second half of last season in the Championship.
The Lille left-back, 23, is interesting Watford, Arsenal, West Ham and Everton, according to Mail Online. Watford need a left-back, his age will be appealing and Watford do see plenty of value in the French market.
Likelihood: Watford don’t like being involved in a bidding war and the fact this one has become public, does not augur well. Some of the key deals last summer (Britos and Behrami) went under the radar, which is just the way the Pozzos like it.
His agent, Furio Valcareggi, is clearly working hard for his client who is out of favour at Sunderland. “[Fiorentina sporting director] Daniele Prade asked me about Giaccherini prior to Empoli vs. Fiorentina, but I had promised I wouldn’t say anything to anybody,” Valcareggi told everybody in an interview with Lady Radio. Watford have been linked with the former Juventus man who cost Sunderland £6.5m but spent last season on loan at Serie A side Bologna.
Likelihood: We’re not sure Watford go after players who are not wanted by Sunderland. And, again, he’s another midfielder the wrong side of 30.
The Roma midfielder-come-winger, 24, spent last season on loan at Inter Milan and Mazzarri will know him, even though he hasn’t coached him. He almost signed for Manchester United as an 18-year-old but didn’t because of a work permit problem.
Likelihood: Ticks plenty of boxes. Young, creative and only has one year left on his Roma deal so should be available at a knockdown price. We know the club are keen on him.
The Barcelona youth product, 19, has reportedly turned down a new contract at Anfield, alerting a host of clubs. He spent the season on loan at Brentford before making his Liverpool debut in the 1-1 draw with West Brom on the final day of the season.
Likelihood: Right up Watford’s street as they look to stock the squad with players aged between 17 and 19 who are capable of, one day, playing for the first team.
News of a move for the 25-year-old left-back has surfaced again. Watford were first linked with him last summer but he stayed at Inter Milan and Watford landed Jose Holebas instead. Santon played as much at Inter as Holebas did at Watford so it sounds like he’s getting itchy feet again.
Likelihood: Watford planned to have Holebas as the No 1 left-back and a fit-again Tommie Hoban as his understudy, but the goalposts may have shifted now Mazzarri, who favours 3-5-2, has arrived. He may end up wanting a player he knows can fill that demanding wing-back role.