Watford are not entertaining the notion of bringing Ashley Young back to Vicarage Road in what would have been an emotional homecoming but are looking to strike at least a couple of deals.
Young has been heavily linked with a return to the club he left in 2007 for a club record fee but we have been told by a well-placed source that there is no substance to the link. Young’s wages at Manchester United would, for starters, make him the highest paid player at Watford.
The 31-year-old does also not fit the age profile of players the club are looking at and, crucially, he would have no resale value. And, finally, his passport is probably the wrong colour. Gino Pozzo and Scott Duxbury have clearly shown they can extract better value from the foreign market.
Yes, they made a similarly sentimental move in the summer window by bringing Adrian Mariappa, a former teammate of Young’s, back to Vicarage Road but Mariappa was a free agent and his wages would reflect his status as very much a back-up defender.
The club are looking exclusively at the central midfield positions when it comes to their winter window business. A replacement is being sought for the stricken Roberto Pereyra while Adlene Guedioura’s likely involvement in the African Cup of Nations heightens the need to bolster the deeper-lying midfield position. Guedioura has been the only midfielder Mazzarri trusts to replace Valon Behrami when the Swiss is injured or suspended.
“The market of January is always very hard to predict and to make the decision but I’m sure the club will work to bring some players in because we have to take in injuries and also take into consideration the African Cup of Nations,” said Mazzarri who will also lose Nordin Amrabat to the continental tournament.
Asked how much involvement he envisages having in the transfer selection process, Mazzarri replied: “I will speak to the people in charge,” he said. “This includes the president [Gino Pozzo]. We need to discuss what are our main objectives and what we need on the bench. It depends on the budget. We have to make sure we have the best person available and ready.”