Date:Friday June 9 2006
Approaching three weeks since Watford`s play-off final victory over Leeds United, which secured Premiership status and the much publicised financial reward, fans still await the club`s first signing of the summer. Yet there has certainly been no lack of speculation surrounding potential recruits.
Newcastle striker Michael Chopra, having previously enjoyed a successful loan spell at Vicarage Road, has rejected the offer of a new contract, and has been strongly linked with a move. "I need to be playing every week, and that`s going to be hard at Newcastle," said Chopra, 22. A fee of around Ł250,000 for compensation would be paid to Newcastle should Chopra sign.
One magpie that now looks unlikely to be joining Watford is defender Peter Ramage. After reports of Watford`s interest in the 22-year-old, his manager Glenn Roeder offered a swift denial of an imminent transfer. "I saw the speculation linking Rammy (Ramage) to Watford in the papers, but that`s all it is - speculation, and I certainly wouldn`t encourage anyone to come in for Peter," stated Roeder.
Elsewhere, another young Premiership defender, Spurs` Calum Davenport has also been earmarked by sections of the media as a potential signing. But agent Colin Gordon was quick to quell speculation of the transfer, describing rumours that Davenport was on his way as "rubbish". With seeming rebuffs from Ramage and Davenport, Boothroyd could yet turn to Leeds`Matthew Kilgallon. Boothroyd knows him from his time as coach at Leeds, but Watford look set to face stiff competition from fellow Premiership new-boys Sheffield United for the Ł1 million-rated defender.
Further afield, the Hornets have reportedly been notified of the availability of Marseille`s 23-year-old Spanish striker Sergio Pardo Koke, recently returned from a loan spell at Sporting Lisbon. Another foreign-based striker linked with a move to Hertfordshire, is Hungary international Peter Rajczi, who has scored 23 goals for his club side Ujpest FC and is available on a free. "Peter has one of the best scoring records in Europe at the moment, and has alerted the interest of several clubs in England and Scotland, including Watford," James Erwood, his agent, said.
Yet reports that Watford have had a bid turned down by West Brom for former left-back, and fans` favourite, Paul Robinson, appear to be wide of the mark. Watford Chief Executive Mark Ashton moved to deny that any concrete transfer activity had taken place. "The manager's away on holiday so at the end of the day, no player is going to be firmly signed, even if we did a deal with the club, until the manager's back because that's his area," said Ashton. So it looks as though until Boothroyd returns from his well-deserved summer break, fans have to continue to wait to see if any speculation will turn into transfer action.
WRITTEN BY ISAAC STOLL
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