Watford have been linked with a move for Celta Vigo ace Okay Yokuslu recently, and he could be the man to replace Will Hughes should the 26-year-old leave Vicarage Road this summer.
According to the Watford Observer, Yokuslu’s agent was at Watford’s training ground earlier this week in order to speak to sporting director Cristiano Giaretta, which suggests that a move could well be on the cards.
The 27-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, and whilst they are also said to be keen on bringing him back, Yokuslu would reportedly prefer a move to a Premier League side.
It is no surprise to see Watford being linked with midfielders ahead of the new campaign, as Hughes’ future at Vicarage Road is looking increasingly uncertain. The former Derby player was reportedly demoted to the under-23s as a result of the ongoing contract dispute, whilst the likes of Newcastle United and Aston Villa have been linked with a move for him.
Therefore, unless a resolution is found quickly, it would be a surprise to see Hughes start the Premier League season as a Watford player, especially as his current deal is set to expire in 2022, meaning that the Hornets could be forced to cash in on him now.
The 26-year-old played a key role in Watford’s promotion to the Premier League last term, averaging a solid 6.85 rating from WhoScored across his 30 appearances in the Championship. He would undoubtedly need swift replacing should he depart this summer, and Yokuslu could be the ideal man for the task.
The Turkey international helped improve West Brom significantly last season, averaging an impressive 6.96 rating from WhoScored across his 16 top-flight appearances, but he was ultimately unable to save them from relegation.
Considering that Xisco Munoz’s team will likely be one of the favourites for the drop in 2021/22, swapping a possession-based player such as Hughes for the more physical and defensive-minded Yokuslu could be a smart move by the Hornets this summer.
The 27-year-old earned rave reviews during his time at The Hawthorns last season, with former teammate Kyle Bartley saying: “He’s been brilliant. He seems to have settled in really quickly which is always important for a player at a new club.
“You can see already that he’s a really good player. I thought he was great against Manchester United on his full debut and then he backed that up with another impressive performance on Saturday against Burnley.
“He’s tenacious. He’s good on the ball. He’s calm and composed. I think he’s made a big difference in there.”
Therefore, it seems clear that the £6.75m-rated Yokuslu would be a stellar addition to Watford’s side this summer, even if it proves to be a catalyst in Hughes departing Vicarage Road on a permanent deal.