In the January transfer window, Watford sold long-serving, ever-reliable midfielder Etienne Capoue. The club sought a talented replacement immediately. When no young, new, exciting talent was lured in, the Hornets settled for Dan Gosling. The Bournemouth player has fared well and scored a crucial goal against Norwich City to help Watford clinch promotion. However, in the Premier League, reinforcements will be needed, and the Hornets could go back in for their initial, ideal Capoue replacement: James Lea Siliki.
Watford Should Go Back in for James Lea Siliki
January Transfer Breakdown
In January, Watford’s interest in the French midfielder was well documented. According to L’Equipe, the transfer broke down due to an unpaid instalment in Watford’s transfer with Rennes for Ismaila Sarr. A £7 million payment was yet to be made – a figure which Rennes believe they should already have received. Despite Lea Siliki wanting the move to England, the Rennes hierarchy did not want to do any business with Watford until the Sarr payments were made.
The Watford Observer’s Ryan Gray suggested the January deal for Lea Siliki was set to be a loan with an option to buy.
Perfect Time for James Lea Siliki and Watford to Unite
In the 2017/18 campaign, the midfielder played in 37 matches in all competitions for Rennes. In 2018/19, he featured in 34 matches. Last season, he saw the pitch 29 times. This season, however, he has only seen the pitch 12 times in all competitions.
The like-for-like Capoue replacement can play as a left-midfielder if necessary. With Sarr’s Watford future uncertain due to well-known interest from larger clubs such as Liverpool, bringing in his former teammate, who assisted him in a match against Arsenal in the Europa League in 2019, might help further keep Sarr’s heart at Vicarage Road. And, in turn, Sarr staying will likely make Lea Siliki more inclined to sign for the Hornets.
Of course, the main difference between now and the January transfer window is Watford are back in the Premier League. Firstly, Watford will have no issues paying off the owed instalment of the Sarr transfer, so that block will be hurdled barring any tremendous surprises. Secondly, the pull of the Premier League will further make the move to England hard to resist for Lea Siliki.
With prior disputes between the clubs almost certain to be settled, Lea Siliki seeking more playing time, and Watford needing Premier League reinforcements, do not be shocked if the Hornets decide to target him once again, and this time, with more success.