A 17th place finish and not a whole lot of positivity surrounded Vicarage Road in the latter stages of the 2016/17 season. Walter Mazzarri’s spell was tedious consisting of a constant flow of injuries, awful management and a lack of English being spoken from the head coach. With the Hornets league finish a poor one, the transfer policy of chop and change will come into question, so just how well did Watford do in the market? I assess each transfer in terms of their impact and what they can bring to the club going forwards.
Brice Dja DjeDje – 2/10
To not be included across the squad over a whole season regardless of a lack of fitness due to an injury is a waste and of course added nothing to the club. A couple of Cup appearances against lower league opposition showed promise which could add value next term but another odd Pozzo signing so far.
Daryl Janmaat – 7/10
Superb going forwards the Dutchman looked the ideal candidate as a right wing back in Mazzarri’s 3-5-2 system. He’s had a few concerning times on the sidelines and it’s clear he’s never going to be the best defender but he’s been a more consistent figure when he’s played and looks a good option because he has distinct quality as an attacking full back. Newcastle fans warned he was a weak character but no complaints so far from me. If Dje Dje hits the ground running next season the right back position is no worry with two solid options in that department.
Younes Kaboul – 3/10
An accident waiting to happen in a back three, Kaboul was an unfortunate liability when he was exposed and sat at the right side of a back 3 which was disorganised and that made him work overtime and expose his decision making. In a back four he was much better and that played to his strengths, a good character but overall a poor signing even if £3 million seemed a sensible deal. Signing any player from Sunderland is likely to not end well.
Adrian Mariappa – 6/10
Was effectively the clubs 6th choice centre back when he was bought in so it shows the degree of injuries faced when he was a regular in the closing stages. No doubt a good personality to bring in and an Englishman to fill the quota. Put in a couple of very good performances as well as showing signs why he’s not going to be a mainstay in the team.
Christian Kabasele – 5/10
Another player we haven’t seen enough of. In limited appearances the Belgium centre back did well, looked a real physical asset and even showed ability fitting in as a right wing back. Looks to have embraced the club and a positive character with a determination so hopefully we see more next season.
Camilo Zuniga – 4/10
A versatile signing which looked a solid addition. Zuniga of course scored the winner against Manchester United and never really let the side down but it was a loan deal that has to go down more as a flop than anything else which the Colombian sitting out the end of the season when the defence was wounded.
Kennedy – 2/10
Another odd signing that didn’t work out largely due to fitness but he clearly wasn’t fancied by Mazzarri either. Sent back to Chelsea when we didn’t have obvious cover at left back sums it up.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 7/10
Comfortably Watford’s best player in the final set of games. His early season absence can only be another fault attached to Mazzarri. A player with class and composure on the ball, since he’s filled in deep into midfield he hasn’t looked back and now looks a key player for next season. His overall impact was reduced only through exclusion.
Tom Cleverley – 5/10
A great impact signing, at a time where the Hornets were lacking personality Cleverley more than anyone will give his all. His defensive qualities are a real asset and he was making the play flow. As the seasons got older he’s got worse and worse and now I fear it was a real mistake making the loan move permanent for £7 million. I hope I’m wrong.
Roberto Pereyra – 6/10
The most eye catching signing, from Juventus for around £13 million only to get injured until the rest of the season which is typical of the season. Pereyra will be expected to be a key part of the side next campaign, I wasn’t overly impressed in truth though, you can tell he is a classy player but he wasn’t effective enough in too many games. High hopes shouldn’t be laid on his shoulders next season but definitely a potential hit if he can find his feet again.
Isaac Success – 6/10
Again Mazzarri has to take the blame for this one, for whatever reason the Nigerian never got starts despite being man of the match when he made his first and causing havoc in certain cameo spells. He’s terrific to watch and has a lot of learning to do but crucially a lot of talent. I hope the former head coach hasn’t damaged his chances of being a real star.
M’baye Niang – 6/10
Another player who was required to make an instant impact when bought in on loan in January. As a whole you’d say more miss than hit and following Niang’s clear idea that he is too good for the club he didn’t have the personality to prove that during his time. Fantastic ability not fulfilled, here were my thoughts on whether we should try to sign Niang.
Stefano Okaka – 7/10
I think Okaka has been decent, again with injuries holding back his game time. An absolute beast of a man he’s got a solid return of goals I think and offers far more than that. £6 million again is quite a lot particularly as someone that isn’t a guaranteed starter though.
Jerome Sinclair – 2/10
I didn’t get this one and I still don’t. A loan was going to be his opportunity to prove he could be a hit at Vicarage Road in the future and he barely played for a struggling Birmingham City. This will always be one for the future but that hasn’t got off to the most promising start.
Mauro Zarate – 4/10
Another player to be on the treatment table longer than the pitch which again was unfortunate when he got taken off particularly after he was looking bright. Signed for just a couple of million pounds he could’ve been a good option particularly as he possessed something different from anyone else in the squad.
What ratings would you change? Let us know in the comments below!