Watford remain relaxed over the deal to sign Sofian Boufal and will not be drawn into a bidding war amid reports linking him with an 11th hour switch to Southampton.
Building on the initial talks they held with him and his representatives in Austria last month, the Hornets have held talks with the Moroccan over the past two days and offered him a five-year contract. Members of the Hornets’ transfer committee, we are told, came away from the final round of talks confident and believing there was genuine interest from the player and his agent in joining the Watford project.
Watford are still keen to clinch the deal for the 22-year-old but will not be sucked into a bidding war by Lille who, according to reports in France, are cash-strapped. Southampton have apparently tabled a £20m bid and, of course, are managed by Claude Puel, the former Lille manager. Watford value the player, who is currently injured, at less than that, using the £13m they could end up paying for Roberto Pereyra, a player with more than one season under his belt in a top European League, as a yardstick.
Watford made Pereyra their primary creative midfielder target and while they are big admirers of Boufal, they view his signing very much as a bonus. The Pozzo model is always based around signing young, promising players at the right price and Boufal falls squarely into that category, just like Adalberto Penaranda.