Watford currently sit four points above the drop zone, signalling a decent start to life in the Premier League for a newly promoted team. There was no shortage of transfers for them upon their promotion, making double-digit changes to their first-team squad. However, with some glaring weaknesses remaining in the team, what can be expected from the Hornets in the January transfer window? The Watford sporting director Cristiano Giaretta has given his say.
Watford Sporting Director Not Giving Away Hints About January Transfer Plans
Cristiano Giaretta Speaks
In an interview with TuttoMercatoWeb following their memorable 4-1 victory over Manchester United, Watford sporting director Cristiano Giaretta said: “We have a squad to exploit: young people who are growing up, who have to work.
“Now, we are happy. It is too early to say what we will need. We signed a goalkeeper from Sparta Rotterdam ten days ago; (Maduka) Okoye remains there on loan until June then next season, he will come here.”
What Can Be Expected in the January Transfer Window
Giaretta did not give any hints about where Watford might target. He seems confident in the squad they already have and the young players who are continuing to improve (such as Joao Pedro, Cucho Hernandez, Jeremy Ngakia).
Now, with Maduka Okoye signed and set to join for the 2022/23 campaign, the Hornets will almost certainly not bring in another goalkeeper in January. Defensively, however, the club could use a handful of reinforcements. They are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, and injuries have often left them thin with options in the heart of the defence.
They completed the free-agent signing of experienced center-back Nicolas Nkoulou to help in that department, and he has played well in his first two Premier League starts. Still, they may want more support defensively if clean sheets are impossible to come by.
With Peter Etebo working his way back from injury and Imran Louza now breaking into the first-team squad, the need for a new midfielder is not pressing. A true defensive-midfielder – rather than a box-to-box midfielder put in the deeper position – may be sought after, but again, it is not necessary.
Attacking-wise, the Hornets are inconsistent. In their four wins, Watford have scored 15 goals, but have scored just one other goal in their eight other matches (their lone draw of the season). When the attacking ranks are on form, the floodgates open. Consistency is needed, but considering the potential talent with the likes of Pedro, Hernandez, Ismaila Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis, and Joshua King, attacking reinforcements are not necessarily required either.
Thus, it is hard to tell what the Hornets will target: a new defensive-midfielder, full-back, and centre-back could be earmarked as potential arrivals. And, of course, if any major first-team departures occur (such as Sarr, who never has a shortage of suitors), then they will look for high-profile signings to replace them.
But, as Giaretta hinted at, trusting the Claudio Ranieri process with the current squad will likely be the way to go. Financially, it makes the most sense, and if Ranieri gets the squad to build off of the brilliant three-goal wins over Everton and Manchester United, then the tactics will prove to be much more valuable than any individual player could.