With what I believe has been a captivating World Cup taking place in Russia, many football fans alike could’ve been forgiven for taking half an eye off the club scene as everyone gears up for another long campaign. Now with the transfer window shutting before a competive ball is kicked on August 9th, Javi Gracia will be hoping to boolster his squad ahead of his first full season as Hornets head coach with four signings already making the move to Vicarage Road. But what else needs to be done to make this a fantastic off season for a club that has all the potential to achieve greater things?
I believe the club has a great platform to build on with the squad that left the final game away at Old Trafford last season. It’s easy to forget injuries plagued last year and with everyone fit, personally I think Watford are a side that shouldn’t even be thinking of the relegation zone. Below is what I consider Watford’s best team with second option in brackets illustrating why I have this belief.
4-2-3-1 – Foster (Gomes, Dahlberg), Janmaat (Navarro), Kabasele (Prodl), Cathcart (Kaboul), Masina (Holebas), Deulofeu (Femenia), Doucoure (Capoue), Chalobah (Cleverley), Richarlison (Sema) , Hughes (Pereyra), Gray (Deeney).
With apparent intent to do further business I am very satisfied with the look of the squad as shown above. The addition of full backs on both sides means the club have more than enough at right back although Adam Masina’s introduction could be pivotal with the unfancied Jose Holebas out in reserve and this still remains an area of concern for me. There’s a lot to be said for man management bringing out the best in players rather than just going out and trying to buy a quick fix so with the Hertfordshire outfit overly stocked at centre half this is something for the Spanish boss to consider. The midfield is certainly the clubs biggest asset and this possesses two strong options in each position while finally the club have already survived comfortably for two seasons without a top striker so while this needs addressing there is some comfort in that fact.
The Final Pieces
With the imminent arrival of Ben Foster and Swedish winger Ken Sema for small fees, the emphasis on quality over quantity has to be made which in itself is a pleasing thought as a Watford fan. Realistically signing replacements for the potential departure of Doucoure could be the biggest undoing this window but with that for another day the club have to realistically tackle one crucial area but ideally two positions if Javi can really have no excuses going in to the season opener.
A top striker now has to be an absolute must for the club who have operated sensibly so far. We can take lessons learned from the record signing of Andre Gray last season in a few ways.
- A new striker has to fit Andre’s style but be better technically – the former Burnley forward made some fantastic movement off the ball and we as a team played better with this type of forward rather than using a target man but Gray’s first touch and general technical ability was way off the mark and therefore his overall contribution was hindered.
- They have to be used to or can adapt to being a lone striker – Gray flourished at being in a partnership at Burnley and we as Watford fans can see in Deeney more than anyone that it can really restrict/enhance a player depending on if they play with a partner. Gray wasn’t utilised fully you feel by playing as a lone striker and therefore we could do with a player who is used to this role and can carry themselves up top with neat hold up play and movement as well as making all the difference in the final third.
- The complete forward is not possible – the last thing we can learn is from Gray’s £18m price tag is that strikers in general don’t come cheap at times but even more so when I’m talking about an upgraded version of the 27 year old who not only has that pace but better finishing and technical ability. It’s easy to type and talk about what’s ideally needed but Watford can’t attract a big name for a good price and therefore this is simply down to the Pozzo’s to find the best candidate possible.
With my confidence in the squad high, the only over concern is at centre half where at the moment it’s all very much about quantity over quality. Depth in this departement is not an issue and with Cathcart and Kabasele looking perfectly fine as a duo towards the end of last season I’m not completely stressed about this position however I would ideally love to see a highly accomplised centre half arrive before the deadline to effectively complete the final piece in the jigsaw. Leadership would certainly be a must for that centre back as I believe the whole back line could do with an instrumental figure. This was such a costly department in 2017/18 at times that you do fear it can’t all be the head coaches work to resolve and particularly with most of them seeing the treatment table more than the pitch it would be nice to see Kabasele in particular fnd a well matched partner to keep the goals out.
What are your thoughts on this Watford fans? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image credit citipark