Since gaining automatic promotion in May, it is fair to say that Watford have not been resting on their laurels. They have a new manager in the shape of Quique Sanchez Flores who replaced the man who got the Hornets up, Slavisa Jokanovic, and they have made a whopping amount of signings already with plenty of time left in the transfer window.
Some of the names arriving through the doors at Vicarage Road are Sebastian Prodl, Allan Nyom, Jose Holebas, Etienne Capoue, Miguel Britos, Valon Behrami and Giedrius Arlauskis – a fair few for the new boss at Vicarage Road to gel together.
Doing that will be difficult of course, so is it really the right thing to do once you have gained promotion to the Premier League? Do you need to sign loads of new players, or is it better to trust those who got you there in the first place?
Different people and clubs will prefer different methods, and at Watford it was always likely that this would be their approach down to the fact most of their side was on-loan in the Championship – rules in the Premier League prevent so many loanees. A mass overhaul and signings of loads of new players was always likely. A brand new manager wasn’t, however. But at least with so many new players, assuming he is the one signing them, Flores will have his own squad.
The Hornets have signed some good players, too. Behrami and Capoue are both experienced and have Premier League know-how from time at West Ham and Spurs, respectively. The pair will add real strength, energy and power to the midfield engine room.
Prodl at the back alongside Britos are a good signings. Both are experienced with plenty of European football behind them and will add some much needed nous to the defence.
Then with Holebas the Hornets have signed a fantastic modern day athletic full-back, who has a superb left foot, delivers real quality into the box and is blessed with fantastic pace, which helps him in recovering defensively and going forward as well. He could well prove to be a revelation at left-back for Flores’ men this season.
There are some good signings in there, and along with the likes of Ighalo, Deeney and Abdi there is the basis of a good squad coming together for Flores – whether it will be enough to stay up is another matter all together, however.
Flores will need to gel these new players into a balanced team that works, whilst maintaining the sprit Jokanovic instilled last season – Troy Deeney could be key to that as the team captain. If Flores can get the team to hit the ground running they could really go from strength to strength and have a very good season.
That would be the perfect scenario, however, it is more likely at first things will be slow and gradual. This new look team may take its time to work, but given the quality of the players it should come together eventually, and Watford should do just fine.
Being busy is a bold strategy but there has been some very handy business done by Watford so far and I would expect to see more as the window goes on. Such an approach could just work out for Watford as they look to stay in the Premier League.