Watford appear to have cooled their interest in Sofian Boufal with the news they have resuscitated their interest in signing Roberto Pereyra.
The Hornets agreed personal terms with Boufal nearly three weeks ago but the fee with Lille seems to have been a sticking point. Lille want £16.7m, which is £4m more than the club record they paid for Isaac Success. The need for an attacking midfielder has also increased after blanks were fired in successive pre-season games against Anzhi Makhachkala and Queens Park Ranger. Boufal has not played since the beginning over May after he required knee surgery to solve a problem he picked up against L’Orient, Watford’s opponents on Saturday.
Pereyra, on the other hand, has been part of Juve’s pre-season programme and started their game against Tottenham earlier this month. We understand Watford are only looking to sign one attacking midfielder but are seeking to recruit another central defender and a box-to-box midfielder. Watford moved for Pereyra earlier in the summer but pulled out of the running when the Argentine looked to be heading to Napoli. The Hornets did the same in January, withdrawing from the negotiating table to sign Mario Suarez before reviving their interest.
Watford have been linked with several high-profile players this summer but are yet to pull a deal off that really captures the imagination of the fans. The club have the resources to land top targets but will not be spending recklessly.
“I don’t think we do [have smash the wage structure],” chief executive Scott Duxbury told us exclusively in May. “Maybe on a list of five players, where we have discounted players No 1 and No 2, we don’t have to discount them now because we have the ability to financially compete. We run this football club on pretty strict principles. We want to self sufficient. At the start of the season we set budgets, we set a global wage structure. We have a 25-man man squad and we’ll set certain wage structures to certain positions. We won’t breach it. Even if player who comes along who is on a ridiculous wage, we won’t do it. It’s not a lack of ambition. Our ambition remains completely unchecked. It’s being sensible and being strategic.
“If you do that you can achieve far more than just being wasteful. You think: ‘We can’t afford him but who can we get?’ It makes people far more determined and focused to find a player who fits in our framework. Having clear parameters and directing that to your staff makes them far more efficient, far more successful than: saying: ‘Spend what you want, do what you want’. The results aren’t as nearly as successful.”