Watford are reportedly looking to fill the cavernous void created by the season-ending injury to Roberto Pereyra by signing Hernanes from Juventus, the club they ironically signed Pereyra from in a club-record deal.
Hernanes, 31, fits the bill of the type of player the Hornets are seeking: he can cover a variety of midfield positions and has bags of experience having played for Inter Milan and Lazio. Significantly, he played briefly under Mazzarri at Inter before being sold to Juventus for €11 million last year. Gino Pozzo and technical director Filippo Giraldi will know the player well and, crucially, Watford’s owner has a good relationship with Giuseppe Marotta, the Juventus CEO.
Reports in Italy suggest Hernanes has been the subject of interest from China, Turkey and Portugal and was on the verge of moving to Genoa, but Watford have entered the race and are now considered the front runners. The only stumbling block might be a work permit: he won the last of his 27 Brazil caps two years ago but then Miguel Britos has never played for Uruguay yet he secured one from the Home Office.
Hernanes, who is not considered particularly quick but has excellent technical ability and is predominantly left-footed, made 24 appearances in his debut season for the Old Lady and has made 12 appearances this season, last featuring as a substitute in the Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb last month. He was also in Brazil’s squad at the last World Cup.
Watford are only really looking to strengthen the midfield area in this window and are already someway down the track in a bid to bring Henri Lansbury to Vicarage Road. If Lansbury would help the home-grown quota, then Hernanes would increase the South American flavour at the club and add a certain level of panache, judging by this highlights reel: