Watford’s interest in bringing in new attacking forces is no secret. Almost immediately after the Hornet’s mathematically clinched promotion at the end of April, names of transfer targets started to emerge. The first of many strikers linked was Ike Ugbo, and negotiations between Watford and Chelsea were held. After over one-and-a-half months, how far has the potential deal progressed?
Watford and Ike Ugbo Talks Stall After Early Progress
Ike Ugbo Entered Talks With Watford After Prolific Belgian Loan
Ike Ugbo has long been a member of the Chelsea loan army. The 22-year-old, following a 13 goal season in the Dutch second tier in 2019/20, earned a loan to Cercle Brugge in the Belgian top flight. His host of suitors for this summer tremendously grew after his successful loan spell. In 32 appearances, he scored 16 goals, averaging one goal per 171 minutes. He was responsible for scoring 40 per cent of the club’s goals.
A long-term future at Chelsea, despite his noteworthy loan spell, is unlikely. Thus, Watford and Chelsea did not hesitate to open talks. As previously reported, Watford and Chelsea had preliminary discussions in regards to an Ugbo transfer in early April, with follow-up talks imminent once the season ended.
Transfer Stalling as All Parties Considering Other Options
According to Adam Leventhal of the Athletic, despite the interest and discussions, Watford now have other attacking targets higher up on their list of priorities. According to the report, Ugbo allegedly told some Chelsea teammates that a Watford move is “unlikely.” Football Insider also suggested Ugbo is considering moves to other interested clubs such as Fulham, Schalke, Sassuolo, and more.
A £5 million fee will be required to secure his services, so it is not as if funds are what is holding Watford back from proceeding with the transfer. The Hornets are reportedly interested in many other strikers, including Daryl Dike, Rafael Santos Borre, Yakou Meite, Eddie Nketiah (as per Fabrizio Romano), and more.
With Cucho Hernandez returning to Vicarage Road following his loan with Getafe, the Hornets’ centre-forward situation remains excitingly up in the air.