Watford have operated with one eye very much on the future when signing three exciting young talents.
Teenage Malian forward Aly Malle, Nigerian youth international Uche Agbo and Ecuadorian defender Pervis Estupinan have all signed long-term deals with the Hornets but have been sent straight to Granada on loan and could play in La Liga this season. The league a player has been playing in, in addition to factors like the size of the transfer fee and their salary, are taken into account when the time comes to apply for a permit to work in the UK.
Malle, 18, was a star of the Mali team who finished runners-up to Nigeria at the U17 World Cup in Chile last year, winning the third best player of the tournament award. He played as a No 9, scoring twice and setting up two others as Mali beat Honduras, Ecuador, Paraguay and Croatia on their way to the final. He was also part of the exciting Mali team who won the U17 African Championships last year by beating South Africa in the final in Nigeria.
Malle was rewarded for his performances by being called up to the national team squad for the African Nations Championship, a tournament in Rwanda which concluded earlier this month. Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were thought to be chasing his signature.
Agbo has been at Granada for the past two seasons, on loan from Udinese whom he signed for in October 2013. He’s an athletic midfielder who caught the eye of the Pozzos’ scouting network at the Under-20 World Championship in 2013.
“If he has to go to Watford, then he must be paid higher than the wages he is getting at Granada, ” his agent Oliver Noah, who also represents Isaac Success, told allnigeriasoccer.com in June. “We are still talking. Watford are the only club that have shown interest in him now.”
We understand the deal has now been done and he will be a teammate of Estupinan this season. Estupinan, 18, can play as a left-back or winger and was on the radar of several Premier League clubs.