As Watford earned promotion while tying the Championship’s record for the fewest goals conceded in one season, much of their focus in the transfer window has not been on the defensive end of the pitch. The departure of Craig Dawson and the arrivals of Francisco Sierralta and William Troost-Ekong last summer already improved Watford’s defensive ranks considerably. But now, the Hornets are indeed linked with a center-back: SPAL’s Kevin Bonifazi.
Watford Linked with Italian Center-Back Kevin Bonifazi
Udinese Are the Potential Conduit for the Transfer
According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Udinese may purchase Bonifazi and subsequently send him to Watford. The 25-year-old is currently on loan at Udinese from SPAL. The initial loan deal saw Udinese pay a fee of £1 million for his services. The Italian club are now considering activating the option-to-buy clause of around £9.5 million.
Di Marzio explains Udinese could then move Bonifazi to Watford once he is in the Pozzo’s books. The Pozzo family owns both Watford and Udinese, so the clubs frequently do business together. Last summer alone, there were six transfers between the clubs. So, using Udinese as the middle ground to move Bonifazi to Watford would not be out of the ordinary. The report does not suggest whether the move to England would be on a permanent basis or a loan.
Kevin Bonifazi Has Impressed in Serie A
When SPAL loaned in Bonifazi for a third time in four years from Torino, an obligation-to-buy clause was inserted if certain conditions were met. The clause was activated by the end of the season, so SPAL owed Torino £10 million. However, SPAL finished last in Serie A in the 2019/20 campaign, meaning they needed to recoup funds as quickly as possible, hence the loan to Udinese.
The defender has made 80 Serie A appearances over the course of his career thus far. Last season, he was an ever-present in Udinese’s starting eleven. Talented with the ball at his feet, he averaged 45 passes attempted per match last season. His 88.8% pass success percentage was higher than any of Watford’s center-backs’ pass success percentage last season.
For SPAL in the 2018/19 season and the second half of the 2019/20 when he was loaned back to them, he was undroppable in their Serie A team too. Despite being unable to truly break into the Torino first team, his recent success at Udinese and SPAL suggests he has what it takes to continue to shine in a a European top flight. For Bonifazi, a move to Hertfordshire could be the perfect next step in his career.
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