Watford still need to trim their foreign quota of players by at least two following the inevitable departure of Essaid Belkalem – and that’s before the club add the three players Walter Mazzarri has identified to strengthen his squad.
The Hornets have trimmed their non home-grown playing resources significantly this summer by selling Jose Manuel Jurado to Espanyol, allowing Almen Abdi and Daniel Pudil to join Sheffield Wednesday and sanctioning Steven Berghuis’ loan move to Feyenoord. Essaid Belkalem was never going to make the cut for the 25-man Premier League squad anyway but the decision to release him officially puts him out of the picture.
However, to meet the criteria of 17, two more either have to be sold, loaned out or, like Belkalem was last season, kept on the books on full pay with only under-21 football to keep them occupied. And that number of outgoings could rise to five as the Pozzos’ track record would suggest the playmaker, centre-half and midfielder they are chasing will be foreign.
Juan Carlos Paredes and Giedrius Arlauskis are certain to be moved on but the need to chop as many as five non home-grown players would place Mario Suarez, Nordin Amrabat, Matej Vydra, Adlene Guedioura and Allan Nyom under threat.
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