Watford have cooled their interest in signing the Derby County-bound Henri Lansbury and have instead turn their attention to Vicente Iborra, the smooth-passing midfielder from Sevilla.
Lansbury held talks with Watford officials about a return to Vicarage Road and recently revisited the club’s training ground in London Colney, but Watford held reservations about whether he was an upgrade on what they have and whether a player who has spent the last four seasons in the Championship could make the step up to the Premier League. Lansbury, we are told by a source close to the deal, is now on the verge of joining Ikechi Anya and Matej Vydra at Derby.
The landscape and thinking at Vicarage Road shifted after the top decision-makers were offered the chance to sign Iborra, Sevilla’s 28-year-old midfield pivot. Iborra is, we are told, keen on a money-spinning move to the Premier League at this stage of his career but Watford, having been burnt by the deal for Mario Suarez, another Spanish midfielder, this time last season, only want to take him on a loan deal to minimise any risk and make sure they are not overexposed on a player who turns 29 later this month.
Sevilla, understandably, are not really interested in loaning out one of their regular starters and would only be open talks about a permanent transfer for a player contracted to 2020 and one who scored a hat-trick last month. Everton are also thought to be monitoring the situation.
Watford desperately need to get some midfield bodies in the door. While they are not a fan of splashing the cash in the winter window, they need to move fairly swiftly as Adlene Guedioura and Valon Behrami, two of the starting midfielders last night, will be missing for at least the Burton game (and even longer in Guedioura’s case) leaving two gaps and only Carl Stewart, the teenage midfielder, in reserve. Ben Watson’s return date is not known. He has missed the last four games for personal reasons and it was telling he did not even figure last night in a game Mazzarri deemed “an emergency”.
Hernanes, the versatile Juventus midfielder, is another name linked but Mazzarri, we are told by a source close to the manager, has reservations about his mobility and ability to adapt to the helter-skelter world of the Premier League.