Transfer Rumours: Graham and Freeman Targeted
According to various sources, Watford are currently looking to bring ex-Hornet Danny Graham back to Vicarage Road, as well as signing young Stevenage winger Luke Freeman.
Danny Graham left Watford after two excellent seasons in 2009/10 and 2010/11. He finished the 2010/11 season as the Championship's top goal scorer, which earned him a move to the Premiership with Swansea City.
Since his step up into the top tier, Graham has found it harder to recreate the form that saw the Gateshead-born striker win Watford's Player of the Season award in his final year with the club.
Starting fairly promisingly, Graham scored 21 goals in 62 appearances within the space of a season and a half in South Wales, then joined Sunderland in January 2013 for a reported fee of £5m. The Hornets benefitted from this transfer fee, as the sell-on clause from the Swansea move was activated, earning Watford around £225,000.
Graham endured a 13-game scoreless run in the Sunderland team before being sent on loan for the entirety of last season. A single goal in 20 appearances at Hull City preceded a more successful spell with Middlesbrough, which yielded six goals in 18 appearances.
The Watford Observer understands that the 28-year-old striker would welcome a return to Hertfordshire.
The Sunderland Echo also reports interest from the Hornets, noting that Graham's best spell of his career was at Vicarage Road, and both club and player would be eager to recapture the form that lit up the Championship in 2010/11.
Negotiations are said to be at a very early stage, but Watford are looking to bolster their options in many areas of the pitch, and having the option of a proven goalscorer at this level would be an important and astute move.
Luke Freeman is a 22-year-old winger who has recently been relegated to League Two with Stevenage Borough.
Following relegation, Stevenage are resigned to losing their prize asset this summer, and Watford are said to be in the hunt for the player's services.
Freeman signed for Arsenal as a 16-year-old, but never made it to the first team squad, instead finding himself on loan at Yeovil in 2010, and then at Stevenage in November 2011.
The winger made the short term loan switch permanent very shortly after, when he signed a contract with the Hertfordshire club in January 2012, for an undisclosed fee.
Stevenage have activated an additional year on Freeman's contract, so the player could remain at Stevenage until summer 2015. However, it is understood several clubs are chasing the player's signature, and Watford are a side who are very interested in the Dartford-born winger.
Vital Watford also understands that the Hornets have signed Leicester City winger Lloyd Dyer on a three-year contract, as the Watford Observer reported a fortnight ago.
Though the club have not yet made an official announcement, it is understood that the 31-year-old winger will be revealed as a Watford player on or around July 1, when the deal is formally completed.