So Many New Faces!
As the transfer window slams shut, so ends a busy summer for the Hornets.
Transfer deadline day was undoubtedly an extremely busy one for anyone associated with Watford Football Club. In addition to the twelve players already recruited by the Pozzo`s in the drawn-out transfer window, deadline day saw Colombian paceman Victor Ibarbo, young Belgian Obbi Oularé and the much worshipped Adlene Guedioura arrive at the club.
It`s fair to say the surprise of the day was re-signing the popular Algerian Adlene Guedioura on a three year deal. I presumed the midfielder was bought due to a deal for Stade Rennais player Abdoulaye Doucouré collapsing. However, WD Sport report that Guedioura was always going to be signed, and the sole reason for the delay was purely to lessen the fee for the tenacious former Wolves and Nottingham Forest player. One thing is for sure, the fans are more than glad to have him back permanently!
It was only on the morning of transfer deadline day that Watford were being linked with hot prospect Obbi Oularé from Club Brugge. It was a deal that came from absolutely nowhere. The Belgian has signed a massive five year deal with the club. The not-so-rare combination of a tall, powerful and young Belgian striker will be music to the ears of Watford fans, who will hope the nineteen year old can follow in the footsteps of Christian Benteke, Oularé`s hero, and Romelu Lukaku. Oularé may fit the 4-2-3-1 system deployed by Flores very well, and will provide stiff competition for Troy Deeney once he becomes accustomed to the step-up in quality. He also represents a good replacement for Matej Vydra, who was sadly sent on loan to Reading in another deadline day deal.
The third, least surprising, but perhaps most needed signing on the final day of the transfer window was Victor Ibarbo. I emphasise the phrase 'most needed,` because we, the fans, were crying out and begging for more pace in the team. Although he can hardly be called prolific in terms of goal scoring, the former Cagliari striker, who can also play on the wing, most definitely answers our prayers for more raw speed. I posed a few questions to a member of @ASRomaPress, who also runs the website romapress.us, about the Colombian, who has signed a season-long loan deal.
How do you expect Ibarbo to perform in the Premier League?
"I think he`ll do well in the Premier League. He has a big frame and doesn`t go down easily. He has characteristics that will help him."
What sort of player is he? What are his main strengths and weaknesses?
"He`s a quick player who relies on his speed. Ibarbo has regularly been alternated in playing the striker and winger role throughout his time in Italy. He doesn`t finish very well. However, he`s arguably one of the quickest players in the world and shrugs off defenders quite well."
How did he do in his time at Roma?
"He didn`t have much time to make a big impact at Roma, he only arrived in January and was signed injured. He didn`t score a goal but didn`t receive many chances. Ibarbo is a guy who could probably get 5-8 goals per season."
What is his better position, striker or winger?
"His best position is winger. He lacks the finishing ability of a true striker. He`s very quick and is better suited to taking on defenders on the wing by using his speed. He could perhaps work alongside another striker but is generally much more comfortable on the flanks."
What do the Roma fans think of him?
"Roma fans, for the most part, seem frustrated by him. He showed great flashes of brilliance at some points but would disappear at other times. With the way defences play in Italy, he isn`t afforded much space. I think he could excel in England where defences are a bit more open. Ibarbo can do well in England; he`s very versatile and could be a great weapon for Watford."
This transfer window also saw Watford break their record transfer fee, with Frenchman Etienne Capoue joining for around six million pounds. 'Cheap as chips` was the phrase I used when we signed Jose Holebas for under two million pounds. Having seen him play its understandable why Roma weren`t expecting to receive too high a fee for the Greek international. @ASRomaPress also told me "he didn`t do well at Roma. He was poor defensively and looked out of his depth in the Champions League. He`s good going forward but poor at the back." If first impressions are anything to go by, then I can see where they`re coming from. Swiss international Valon Behrami also seems to be an astute signing, and first team regulars Prӧdl and Jurado were also signed in what was undeniably a busy off season for the Golden Boys. Watford were the most active club in the Premier League during the transfer window.
15 signings in total are proof of the changes that have been made to the Watford side that gained promotion last season. Complaints about squad upheaval from Hornets fans are mystifying to me. It is absolutely vital that enough quality and depth is brought in to the Watford side to make sure we stay up this season. It`s a ruthless process, of course it is, but there can be no place for sentimentality in the unforgiving and harsh nature of the Premier League. If it means offloading the majority of the squad that got us promoted, then so be it. Not one single fan will moan if we do end up staying in the Promised Land come next May.