Mario Suarez, who was absent from the matchday squad yesterday, is poised for a loan move away from Vicarage Road – just over six months after joining from Fiorentina.
Suarez was left out of the matchday 18 yesterday and did not travel to St Mary’s. The club pulled out the stops to sign him in January, whisking him from under the noses of Liverpool and Valencia by flying him and his wife, Malena, over on a private jet, offering him a four-and-a-half year contract and placing him alongside the club’s highest earners. However, he found the pace overwhelmingly fast against Tottenham on his full debut and, aside from West Ham away, has never looked like acclimatising to the helter-skelter world of the Premier League.
We have learned that a key member of the recruitment team, and a very close aide of Gino Pozzo, actually mentioned Suarez’s name to Quique Sanchez Flores when discussions were first mooted about January signings – and only then did Sanchez Flores get involved and help prise the player, who he’s coached before, out of Fiorentina. His successor, Mazzarri, started him in each of the first four friendlies but he has been eased out now Valon Behrami, a favourite of Mazzarri’s, has returned. Suarez made only a token appearance against Lorient last weekend and was left out altogether against Southampton, not even travelling as a reserve.
“It is difficult to take everyone with only 18 spaces,” said Mazzarri.
It is no secret Watford need to trim the number of foreign players on their books by at least two – and that is before any new signings are made. Juan Carlos Paredes is certain to be one to make way as he has not made the squad for the last three matches. We understand Suarez will join Steven Berghuis, Obbi Oulare and Adalberto Penaranda in being sent out on loan, with Spain the likely destination.
Suarez, 29, has come under fire from fans and the media, with some justification, as he’s looked leggy and off the pace.
“Someone asked me [at a Q&A] why is Suarez playing?” said Troy Deeney in a video interview on the club website last week. “I mean, really, we haven’t just gone out and found him at a park. Look at his CV, the kid can play football. He’s a Spanish international. Why are fans complaining? We have a Spanish international on the bench and they are still saying: ‘We need to get this player or that player in’. Be realistic, there is a man who is paid to make that decision and he thinks he is good enough to play, so respect that. We stayed up for the first time ever, all records have been broken and still people complain.”
Watford’s foreign players:
Heurelho Gomes, Allan Nyom, Miguel Britos, Valon Behrami, Matej Vydra, Odion Ighalo, Sebastian Prodl, Jose Holebas, Etienne Capoue, Giedrius Arlauskis, Juan Carlos Paredes, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Mario Suarez, Costel Pantilimon, Nordin Amrabat, Adlene Guedioura, Juan Camilo Zuniga, Christian Kabasele, Brice Dja Djedje
*Main image by Franziska Emply