Watford, who always like to operate one transfer window ahead, have made it known to agents that they would like to strengthen their team in four key areas this summer, WD Sport has learned.
Agents and intermediaries, who have contacted the key decision makers at Vicarage Road ahead of the January transfer window, have been told only minimal business will be done next month but that a left-back, a left-sided sided centre-back, a left winger and a centre forward are all on the club’s long-term wanted list. Watford will have their own targets in mind but are always receptive to agents presenting attractive deals for players they hadn’t previously considered.
Slightly burnt by deals for Mario Suarez in particular and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the last winter window, Watford do not want to be completing big, rushed deals in January and scrambling around to get others out the door in any reshuffle of their Premier League squad (they are already at the maximum number of foreign players and have Doucoure, Brice Dje Djedje, Giedrius Arlauskis and Juan Carlos Paredes kicking their heels at the training ground).
With relegation highly unlikely to be an issue, the club will probably wait until the summer to make more judicious purchases in these four areas, but Gino Pozzo and Scott Duxbury are a pair who never say never and they have the funds to pull off a deal should the right player become available earlier than expected. The smart money would be on them using next month’s window to sign a loan player or two, perhaps a midfielder under the age of 21 so they do not take up a place in the Premier League squad. The extent of the injury to Roberto Pereyra could also have a bearing on their short-term business.
What the shopping list does show is the club’s keenness to address the balance of the squad as Jose Holebas and Miguel Britos are the only left-sided players on the books. The recent suspension of Holebas highlighted how reliant they are on the Greek defender, 32, while Britos is the only one of the six centre-halves on the club’s books who is comfortable on the left-hand side of a back three.
The search for a Premier League ready left-winger has been underway for a year. Deals for Matty Phillips and Jefferson Montero were in the pipeline last winter while we can reveal there was an approach for Wilfried Zaha in the summer. An out and out left-footed winger would give Walter Mazzarri, who has a number of formations up his sleeve, even more tactical flexibility.
Most clubs in the Premier League are always on the lookout for a striker and Watford are no different. Again, the club, we are told, are inclined to wait until the summer and make a headline-grabbing purchase in this key area. They were in the hunt for Saido Berahino last summer but pulled out as the Baggies were adamant they wanted Odion Ighalo as part of any deal.
Ighalo has scored just one goal in 975 minutes of league football this season while Troy Deeney is now nine games without a goal and has just two from open play. Encouragingly, however, 11 different players have got on the sheet for Watford this season.