Watford’s reputation as one of the smarter traders in European football was reflected in their net spend during another window of comings and goings.
Watford signed 11 players this summer at a cost of £50.14m, a figure that doesn’t reflect any loan fee paid to Napoli for Juan Camilo Zuniga or to Chelsea for the services to Kenedy. A tribunal, meanwhile, will decide how much Watford have to pay Liverpool for Jerome Sinclair.
Once the Hornets had got their transfer targets in the building, the last week of the window was spent shipping out those surplus to requirements. Headlined by the €12.5 sale of Matej Vydra to Derby County, Watford recouped £28.4m in transfer fees, giving a net spend of £21.74m. MailOnline have the net spend more than £5m higher, with the discrepancy likely to be a result of how many transfer fees are undisclosed.
Parent club Udinese have sold 14 players for more than £10m in the past 15 years, including three for more than £20m, mainly to prop up the business because their gates and TV revenue are not big enough revenue streams. While Watford received £75m in prize money last season and will receive even more this season, they will remain true to the long-established Pozzo model of buying low and selling high.
“We are football club,” said chief executive Scott Duxbury in an interview with us in April. “Our core business is football so player trading has to be a significant part of that business. Is there a need to sell in terms of financial pressure? No. Is there a desire to be efficient and look at selling at the right time? Yes. Our transfer activity has been minimal with regards to outgoing transfers. If the time is right and the sums are the right sums and then can be used to reinvested to buy two better players. We should never discount our model which is sell players at the right time when they are at the top of their market value. That will make us more competitive.”