Watford lost star midfielder Etienne Capoue in January. The club knew the ageing Frenchman needed a successor, so the Hornets planned ahead by signing Pape Gueye on a free transfer in the summer of 2020. Or so they thought they signed him. With the help of lawyer Pierre-Henri Bovis, Gueye cancelled the Watford transfer. The 22-year-old has been a mainstay in Marseille’s starting eleven this season.
Watford Prepared For Legal Battle About Pape Gueye
Pape Gueye Transfer Troubles
Pape Gueye started to garner suitors in the 2018/19 season following a spell of good performances for AC Le Havre. The following season, the French second-tier side made Gueye a consistent starter. Watford took note of his performances and entered negotiations with Gueye’s agent (as his contract was set to expire in the summer).
Gueye’s former agent, Bakari Sanogo, signed a contract seeing Gueye move to the Hornets. Watford went as far as unveiling the player as their own, claiming, “an official agreement has already been lodged with all relevant authorities.” But, Gueye decided his agent mislead him (or so he claimed), and sought legal help to block the transfer.
Bovis helped Gueye cancel the contract with Watford by finding inconsistencies in the deal. Ultimately, Gueye was able to go to Marseille. But, Watford are ensuring the transfer saga is not over just yet.
Watford Want What They Deserve
According to L’Equipe, Watford are appealing with FIFA to challenge the legality of Gueye’s move to Marseille. After all, Gueye would have been a pivotal player in Watford’s push for promotion had he stayed at Vicarage Road. He was their ideal replacement for Capoue. Considering his success with Marseille, there is no wonder the Hornets are making noise.
The possible outcomes of the appeal are unclear. There seems to be legitimacy in the claim Gueye’s agent mislead him in his contract with Watford. Nonetheless, that does not change the fact a contract was signed. So, Watford have every right to contest the transfer.
The Hornets are now under the oversight of a new sporting director than the one who orchestrated the Gueye deal.
Watford actually getting Gueye under contract in England as a result of the appeal is unlikely. Even if FIFA did rule Gueye should be in Hertfordshire, it is highly improbable that the Hornets would want to keep hold of a player who is so vehement about not playing for them.
There is a scenario where FIFA rules Gueye and his lawyer properly diffused the situation and Watford receive nothing.
The final scenario, which is what the Hornets will likely target, is receiving just compensation from Marseille (and have the move treated as if Watford had sold Gueye to the French side). The two clubs talked in December to try and find a solution, but no compromise occurred.