Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Monday July 30 2012
Watford have this evening announced the signing of seven players as expected.
Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and defender Fitz Hall both sign one-year contracts whilst strikers Matej Vydra and Steve Leo Beleck, midfielders Almen Abdi and Ikechi Anya and left-back Daniel Pudil have all penned one-year loan deals at Vicarage Road.
The Watford Observer had earlier this evening suggested that the seven players, who have all been on trial at the club, would be signing imminently and the club's official Twitter feed confirmed the news.
@wfcbadgemoose: '#watfordfc can confirm the arrival of 7 new signings - Amunia & Hall (1 yr), Abdi, Vydram Beleck, Pudil and Anya on season-long loans...'
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Almunia, 35, arrives to replace the recently-departed Scott Loach. The Spanish stopper spent eight years with the north London side after signing from Celta Vigo in 2004.
The Pamplona-born stopper made 109 appearances for the Gunners, primarily as backup to Jens Lehmann before eventually losing the number one shirt to Wojciech Szczesny. Last season saw Almunia spend a short spell on loan in the Championship with West Ham United where he made four appearances in place of the injured Rob Green.
Ex-Queens Park Rangers defender Hall, also a free agent, joins after the departure of vice-captain Adrian Mariappa.
The 31 year-old centre-back travelled to Wealdstone the weekend before last but was only fit enough to feature in the warm-up for Gianfranco Zola's side.
Freed by the Hoops at the end of last season having previously represented Wigan Athletic, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United (loan) in the top two divisions.
The Walthamstow-born defender started his career with Barnet before being freed and joining local non-league outfit, Chesham United.
Granada left-back Pudil, 26, can also play down the left-hand side of midfield.
A full Czech Republic international, boasting 22 caps, Pudil has impressed on trial with the Hornets this pre-season featuring in games against Boreham Wood, Wealdstone and Cork City.
Pudil spent last season on loan in Serie A with Cesena and has previously represented Belgian club, Racing Genk.
Czech U21 international Vydra, on-loan from Udinese, arrives having spent much of last season injured.
Also part of the Pozzo family's football empire, Vydra cost the Zebrette Ł4m from Banik Ostrava in 2010 where he had score four goals in 14 senior appearances.
At just 20, Vydra has represented Czechoslovakia at U16, 17, 18, 19 & 21 level.
Swiss international Abdi, 25, is another to have impressed while on trial during pre-season.
Of Albanian descent Abdi has made 42 appearances for the Friuli club having previously represented French outfit Le Mans and Swiss side FC Zurich.
A playmaker with a good range of passing and great vision and awareness, the six-cap Swiss international was voted the trialist that Vital Watford readers wanted to land most this summer.
Nineteen year-old Cameroonian Leo Beleck featured in pre-season action for the first time in Cork last Tuesday and is another striker to arrive with potential.
Big, strong and powerful, the 6'2 forward is a Cameroon U17 international who has turned out for Greek side Panthrakikos 13 times before moving to Udine.
Finally, Scottish-Ghanain winger Anya found fame when he joined Sevilla's 'B' team in 2009 after a stint in Spain with Glenn Hoddle's Football Academy.
Anya, 24, started his professional career with Wycombe Wanderers before taking in spells in the non-league pyramid with Oxford City and Halesowen Town.
In 2010 he joined Spanish outfit Celta Vigo before transferring to Granada without making an appearance for the Andalusian club.
Welcome to Watford lads!
Date:Monday July 30 2012
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