In sacking their promotion winning man in the dug-out of last season, Slavisa Jokanovic, and replacing him with the equally unknown managerial candidate, Quique Flores, Watford have certainly begun their journey back in the English top flight on a rather precarious foundation.
The plucky Hornets successfully sealed their place in the Premier League last season with several impressive performances throughout their 2014/15 Championship campaign. The likes of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo certainly proved effective up-top for Watford last term, with both players subsequently receiving a fair amount of interest in the run up to the new season.
However, as the Vicarage Road faithful will nonetheless see their team go into 2015/16 with a new and untested manager at the helm, many voices within the wider footballing community nonetheless expect Watford to go down as dead certs for relegation next term. It just seems to make sense at this current stage…
Having said that though, the Hornets have in-fact made some promising strides this summer, signing no less than seven new players in the ever competitive transfer window already.
So, whilst several experts in the game still expect Quique Flores’ new side to struggle next term, have Watford actually done enough to stave off relegation throughout 2015/16 thanks to their pragmatic transfer activity so far this summer?
Starting with 30-year-old Switzerland international, Valon Behrami; the Hornets have potentially made a truly promising signing in the former Hammers man. The Serie A favourite joined up with the likes of Fiorentina, Napoli and Hamburg after he made the switch to Upton Park, and whilst last season didn’t exactly go swimmingly for the midfielder in the Bundesliga, Behrami will nonetheless bring a nice balance of experience and quality to Flores’ determined squad next season.
The same can also be said of flying Greek full-back, Jose Holebas. Like Behrami, the 31-year-old has represented his country at several different international competitions throughout the years, and he arrives at Vicarage Road with a couple of big name teams planted on his CV. Whilst the Greek defender no longer plays within the prime years of his career anymore, Holebas still has to go down as a valuable asset in the modern era, and could have easily made the switch to a more prestigious team than Watford ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
Speaking of defenders – that leads us on nicely to former Werder Bremen centre-back, Sebastian Prodl. The 28-year-old Austrian isn’t quite the most well-known name to ever be imported from the Bundesliga, but Prodl nonetheless represents a sensible move for the Hornets going into the new season. He has plenty of games under his belt to be considered an experienced head in this current Watford squad, which will surely pay dividends when the going eventually gets tough for Quique Floes’ team next season.
Etienne Capoue is another defensive name likely to help Watford’s cause in 2015/16. The deep-lying midfielder has so far failed to make much of an impact in the Premier League with Tottenham, yet the experience will have undoubtedly served the player well for his future. Taking the step down at Watford offers the Frenchman the chance to finally prove himself in England and hopefully steer his new side away from the threat of relegation whilst he’s at it.
In addition to the aforementioned stars, the likes of Allan Nyom, Giedrius Arlauskis and former Vicarage Road loanee, Matej Vydra, will all also come in handy for Flores next season as the Hornets look to justify their place in the Premier League. Injuries and suspensions will inevitably take their toll mid-way through the domestic campaign, so Watford will simply need all the help they can get to ensure their survival next term.
With the new summer signings placing the club in a distinctly promising light going into the new campaign however, perhaps such a mammoth task will ultimately prove easier than expected for the Hornets, as Quique Flores attempts to solidify his side’s place in the English top-flight.