Christian Kabasele said a meeting with Gino Pozzo convinced him to join Watford and become the club’s record defensive signing.
The £5.8m buy from Genk became aware of Watford’s interest in May and met Watford’s owner in June to hear his plans for him and the club.
“I met Mr Pozzo in London,” said Kabasele. “He said he wants to keep Watford longer in the Premier League and always tries to find some player with quality and find a player to improve the squad. I could have gone to another club, but I really wanted to come here, to try to improve myself.”
Did Kabasele consult with fellow countryman Obbi Oulare before joining Watford or pick the brains of the Premier League members of Belgium’s Euro 2016 squad?
“I didn’t ask anybody [about Watford],” said Kabasele. “I just follow my feelings. I saw all the facilities with Mr Pozzo and they are very good. I just spoke [to the Belgium players] about how it’s a very tough league and how everybody can beat everybody. It’s a very difficult league.”
Not as difficult, however, as uprooting a young family from Congo and moving them to Belgium in search of a better life. That was what Kabasele’s father did to give his sons, Christian and his brother who is five years older than him, a headstart.
“In Congo it is very difficult to have a good life,” said the defender. “I was only a few months old so I don’t remember, but it was easier for my parents as the language in Congo is French.”
Kabasele’s brother is a midfielder for an amateur club in Belgium. His father is employed at an airport while his mother works in an old people’s home.
“I speak with my brother every day,” said Kabasele who had a spell playing in Bulgaria. “He’s very important to me. My parents will come to visit. We just have to find a good date.”
Sunday was a landmark day for Kabasele as it heralded the day his wife and six-month-old son came to join him in Hertfordshire.
“It’s great,” he said. “I sorted all the little things I needed to and now have an apartment. I’m a very proud father. It’s the best feeling I had in my life.”
With the all-important settling in period now complete, Kabsele can focus on the job of winning a place in the Watford defence under Walter Mazzarri.
“He works on defence a lot,” he said of the head coach. “He wants to defend good and he wants to make us better, to improve ourselves. I’m excited. It’s the beginning of a very, very difficult season as all the teams can make good transfers with the money.”