Many deals go under the radar, but the transfer completed today, involving Gerard Deulofeu, is one of the most notable deals ever between the clubs.
Gerard Deulofeu Leaves Watford for Good
Loan Deal Made Permanent
Upon relegation from the Premier League, the Hornets were bound to lose some star players. They did well to keep hold of some big names, including club record-signing Ismaila Sarr.
Deulofeu, recovering from injury at the time of relegation, did not stay in England. The talented 26-year-old, between the club not wanting to pay his hefty wages and the player needing top-flight football, left to Udinese on a season-long loan.
For much of this season, he has still been recovering from the injury picked up in Watford’s famous 3-0 victory against then-invincible Liverpool. The former Barcelona attacker has started six matches in all competitions and come off the bench in six more, scoring and assisting once.
Udinese and Watford’s relationship is responsible for the transfer. In other words, this move is not a result of his current form. The Pozzo family is primarily reallocating funds.
Gerard Deulofeu – A Fan Favorite at Watford
The news of Deulofeu‘s departure comes at the disappointment of many Watford fans. In 70 career matches with the club, Deulofeu scored 17 times and assisted 11 goals.
The following season was Watford’s best season since the 1980s. They obtained a highest-ever Premier League finish and went on an improbable run to the FA Cup final. Deulofeu was arguably the most pivotal player to that season’s success.
The match that permanently wrote him into Watford folklore was the 2018/19 FA Cup semi-final.
Javi Gracia, manager at the time, elected to name Deulofeu on the bench in the match against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Watford found themselves two goals down with 11 minutes left.
Deulofeu, who was then on the pitch, scored the most audacious of chip-shots to halve the Hornets’ deficit. Watford forced extra-time, and Deulofeu eventually scored the winner.
The Significance Of Gerard Deulofeu Leaving Permanently
With the January transfer window on the brink of shutting, the Hornets have only made two signings: Philip Zinckernagel and Rob Elliot – both on free transfers. With Watford lacking a prolific goal-scorer and not having signed a replacement for Etienne Capoue yet, the Hornets are not necessarily done looking for players to bring in. However, the Pozzo family has been reluctant to splash the cash this season.
With Deulofeu now permanently off of Watford’s books, the Hornets received financial relief. The funds from this transfer, which might not be the most considerable considering the clubs are owned by the same family, can be used by Watford for last-day transfers.
The confirmation of this move today is most likely not a coincidence.