Watford: Hornets to face the sting of squad demolition
Watford might have taken drastic action to keep their heads above water in the Premier League by sacking Nigel Pearson with just two games left. It didn’t work though and, in addition to a new manager, there will be an abundance of Watford transfer news during what is the shortest pre-season in English football history. Here we look at five players who could immediately return to one of Europe’s big five leagues.
Number 5. Roberto Pereyra, £0.38
Investing heavily into Pereyra might be a bit risky given he has been linked with a move back to Argentina. At 29 though, he might feel he has one more crack in a PB league. A bit like Deeney, he’s at the wrong end of his career for a long term investment or rapid price gain but when Pereyra is at it, he’s definitely capable of scooping some PB wins – a top score of 248 backs this up but that was recorded 21 months ago.
He hasn’t had the best year either. He only scored three goals after struggling to hold down a regular starting spot. His involvement in the prior two years was better though with a hand in nine and eight goals respectively. A return to England’s top flight feels like a long shot but the player might want a crack at Spain before returning to his homeland.
Number 4. Troy Deeney, £0.54
The outspoken striker might be known as ‘Mr Watford’ but he stoked the flames of an exit during his post-match press conference after his teams relegation was confirmed. Even at 32 there will still be a few Premier League teams interested. Deeney has netted a total of 47 goals in the top flight (18 pens). His game is about more than goals though.
He’s very much a physical presence that can hold things up and generally cause a nuisance amongst defences. Burnley and West Brom have already been linked whilst it wouldn’t be a surprise if Deeney features somewhere on Jose Mourinho’s list of back up striker options. A price hike is unlikely but you can imagine a few media stories along the way with his interview style.
Number 3. Abdoulaye Doucoure, £0.72
Doucoure hogged yesterday’s Watford transfer news as stories broke in the local press confirming he wanted to leave Vicarage Road. There will be no shortage of takers. At present, all the rumours are coming from Premier League sides. The the most frequent mentions being speculative links to either of the Merseyside clubs – Liverpool or Everton.
It’s hard to see him heading to Anfield but they have definitely been keen on him in the past. If that move does come off Doucoure would only be a squad player. That wouldn’t be the case if he joins the blue half of the city. Carlo Ancelotti needs to make huge improvements next season and a player like Doucoure, 27, would waltz into their first XI.
Number 2. Gerard Deulofeu, £0.91
There is a strong case to say that the Hornets might have stayed in the Premier League had former Barcelona man Deulofeu not missed the last 10 games with a cruciate injury. He is due back in action soon though. The bad news for Watford being that the chances of that being in the Championship are slim to none. Rumour has it that his former loan club, AC Milan, are interested in signing him.
Deulofeu spent six months in Milan whilst an Everton player and had a hand in seven goals – scoring four and assisting five. It won’t be a clear run for Milan though with Valencia offering him a move back to La Liga. They’ll have a form of pull to Deulofeu too with their gaffer former Watford boss Javi Gracia. You can see why both want him too with a 60% success rate from 4.5 dribbles per game and a creative spark that sees him average two key passes per match. During the 2019/20 season he scooped three PB wins; twice as top forward and once as the star player.
If he can go and produce the goods once again then the prospect of one more big move in his career is far from impossible given he’s still just 26.
Number 1. Ismaila Sarr, £2.13
Of all the relegated teams, no player offers as much FI growth potential as Ismaila Sarr. The 22-year-old winger will be featuring heavily in Watford transfer news in the coming weeks. That is mainly because a move to a big club is a serious possibility. The Hornets forked out £27m for him just 12 months ago. He’s proved a massive hit in the English top flight with a goal involvement every 184 minutes in the shape of five goals and six assists from 28 appearances.
His strengths? Pace and power. Sarr is a formidable build and likes isolate his full back for a ‘knock and run’ style take on where his explosive traits come to the fore. The same abilities make him a real threat when breaking up field quickly and you can understand links with Liverpool. In addition to the 4.3 dribbles he attempts per 90, he also boasts an impressive pass success rate of 81.5%.
On top of the links with Liverpool, where compatriot Sadio Mane will possibly help broker a deal, Manchester United and Arsenal are understood to be keeping him in mind should primary targets fall through. Regardless of where Sarr ends up, he has a bright future ahead and his price should rocket as he gains more top level experience.
We’ve now provided our thoughts on Bournemouth, who fell to relegation on the final day along with Watford, and Norwich and it’s fair to say there is plenty of talent amongst the relegated squads for those who want to supplement their portfolio growth without breaking the bank.