Watford believe they have a player in Adalberto Peñaranda who could develop into a “£50m player”, but have decided his immediate future is best served at fellow Pozzo-run club Udinese.
Penaranda become the most expensive teenager in the club’s history when he agreed a four-and-a-half year contract for a fee that netted Granada €8m in January. Penaranda was allowed to remain with the La Liga strugglers and play against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the second half of the season.
The initial plan was the Venezuelan international to join up with Watford this summer, and his management team were even sent property details with a view to him finding a home in north London. However, the change in head coach, the fact Penaranda’s second work permit hearing will not take place until August, the arrival of forwards Jerome Sinclair and Isaac Success, plus the retention of both Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, means Walter Mazzarri, owner Gino Pozzo and chief executive Scott Duxbury have decided working under new Udinese coach Giuseppe Iachini in Serie A is best for the next phase of his development.
While Penaranda would not have taken up a place in Watford’s 25-man Premier League squad – the 19-year-old would have been named as one of the unlimited number of under-21 players permitted – the club want to avoid the scenario that saw both Obbi Oulare and Steven Berghuis go backwards in their development last season because opportunities were few and far between in the Premier League. Watford have Deeney, Ighalo, Success, Berghuis, Oulare, Amrabat, Sinclair and Matej Vydra vying for the attacking spots, while the Hornets are set to step up their interest in Saido Berahino.
However, we understand Penaranda is very much part of the club’s long-term plans. “Penaranda can be a £50m player in the next four years,” Duxbury told us in an exclusive interview in April, “so we brought him in early, relatively cheap. There were lots of football clubs looking around him, looking to purchase him. He’s an amazing talent. We are very, very excited.”
Penaranda’s exit from Granada completes the break up of the team who stayed up again by a whisker in La Liga. Success and Abdoulaye Doucoure have joined Watford while Yrondu Musavu-King and top-scorer Youssef El Arabi have joined Udinese on free transfers.