Written by David Robinson
It’s been a great season for Watford FC, with the relegation favourites staying up comfortably, the Hornets are in an interesting position ahead of next season having chosen to take the break clause in Quique Sanchez Flores’s contract. Attention now turns to Walter Mazzarri who might have a bit of internal pressure set by the fans with the club just had a successful season for a newly promoted side. The Italian is likely to bring in quite a few new faces in typical Pozzo Family fashion with some certain successes and inevitable failures. I look at the transfers from the season just gone and give my verdict if they were a hit or miss at Vicarage Road.
Sebastian Prodl – free transfer from Werder Bremen – rating – 7/10
The Austrian was the first of Watford’s summer signings arriving on a free transfer. He had good reports back in Germany and can be described as a solid if not unspectacular player. He made a good impression particularly at the start of the season and could have been deemed unlucky to lose his spot to Miguel Britos in October. When making the odd appearance since, the tall centre half has put is some decent displays but you feel he is best as a squad player. As a free transfer this signing has to go down as a good signing looking across the whole season.
Giedrius Arluaskis – free transfer from Steau Bucharest – rating – 4/10
Difficult to judge the Lithuanian as he has only made one appearance in the league as a substitute although it was hardly a performance to give the Watford fans confidence making simple handling errors. The former Steau Bucharest man was then sent out on loan to Espanyol who don’t want him back and has now been replaced by Costel Pantilimon as second choice which doesn’t reflect well on the signing however on a free transfer there can’t be too many complaints. It just hasn’t worked out.
Jose Holebas – £1.8 million from AS Roma – rating – 5/10
The left back clearly has quality but he made infrequent appearances due to a questionable attitude and discipline. When the Greek man did play he was effective for the large part particularly going forwards with a dangerous delivery with his left foot. On the other hand he was at times behind the pecking order to winger Ikechi Anya at left back so question marks must be asked. A small fee though means this was not a poor signing, it was just a bit odd how it worked out. With Flores now gone we may see Holebas again and prove his worth further.
Nathan Ake – on loan from Chelsea – rating – 8/10
A great signing with the 21 year old making a huge impression in his debut season in the Premier League. The Dutchmen was a good fit for Flores’s style being very well disciplined and mature at left back making defending the first priority. Ake’s level of consistency was his greatest asset as a signing. He became a very reliable figure and his acquisition turned out to be crucial with the full backs the weak department in the Hornets squad. The fact he probably won’t be here next season means the club will have to look for an equally efficient replacement which could be a tough task or an expensive one. This is why this addition was only likely a beneficial one in the short term.
Etienne Capoue – £6m from Tottenham Hotspur – rating – 8/10
A fantastic player, the Frenchman dominated midfield’s for the opening months of the season looking like Watford had signed the real deal. He had a bit of everything, strong in the tackle and able to drive the midfield forward with flair and great vision. Question marks from Spurs fans that he was lazy were quickly eradicated. The former Toulouse man was a joy to watch. Since the turn of the year he’s been less effective which I think has largely been down to a formation change where he has had to operate out wide which has not suited him at all. Based on the whole season he’s certainly been a hit but we will need more of the old Capoue next season.
Valon Behrami – £3m from Hamburg – rating – 7/10
The Swiss man had previous Premier League experience with West Ham prior to his move to Vicarage Road. His tenacity was an important quality in the Watford midfield however he did have some poor moments when his aggression got the better of him making me question whether he could in fact be a liability at times. However this was generally not the case. Behrami had plenty of good games across the season, he was relatively limited on the ball but this was not important in his role where he would hassle opponents and break up attacks superbly. His experience was clear to see in games and this can go down as another success overall.
Allan Nyom – from Granada – rating – 5/10
Not a disaster but this is where the weak spot lied which you never would have guessed at the start of the season where the former Granada right back was marauding down the wing with confidence and quality. He then slowly become a bit of a shambles in truth, his defensive qualities were still stable however his decision making and all round game was horrendous in the later months of the season. There is that quality with Nyom but he will need competition for his place next season.
Miguel Britos – Undiscolsed from Napoli – rating 8/10
Not the best impression to make getting sent off on your debut having been sent off for a head butt in his last game for Napoli. You couldn’t blame the fans for discarding this transfer following that Capital One Cup defeat. Then surprisingly Britos appeared for a league debut away at Stoke where he was magnificent where the Uruguayan then became a main stay in the team where he flourished putting in several excellent displays. His athleticism, reading of the game and confidence playing from the back gave Prodl little chance of forcing his way back in the team. A very astute signing…in the end.
Watford fans, do you agree with these ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Franziska