Our Spring magazine is finally here! Click here to view and read our new articles!

False 9: Watford’s new signings

Some newly-promoted teams merely aim to utilise the transfer window to supplement their existing squad, with low risks and low fees facilitating an easier transition back into their old league if relegation cannot be avoided. Watford are not one of these teams. A plethora of new additions have joined new manager Quique Flores at Vicarage Road, with nationalities so diverse that it would make Nigel Farage shed copious tears while curled up in a foetal position. Before the new season starts, take some time to familiarise yourself with Watford’s new boys. Here is today’s addition to our False 9 series, which, in case you have missed it, is essentially a posh name we’re giving to the making of lists. 

2.  Allan Nyom (2 is his squad number, don’t worry I’m not that bad at counting)

Watford’s new right-back, Allan Nyom is truly a plaything of the Pozzo family. Giampaolo Pozzo owns Udinese, who signed Nyom back in 2009; Granada, for who Nyom played for on loan for six (count em) years; and Watford, for who Nyom has somewhat inevitably rocked up at. A 27-year-old Cameroonian international, Nyom is hopefully also the noise that he makes as he runs past opposition players.

 3. Miguel Britos

Britos arrives from Napoli, having spent four seasons there yet failing to muster more than 22 league appearances in one campaign. This 30 year-old Uruguayan centre-back has garnered comparisons to legend Zinedine Zidane; not because of his footballing ability, mind you, but because of this vicious headbutt on Alvaro Morata in what would turn out to be Britos’ last game for Napoli. What a legacy.

5. Sebastian Prödl

I have seen fantasy football experts advocate the inclusion of the cut-price centre-back Prödl, but why is that? His record of 10 goals in 149 games for Werder Bremen is reasonable, and the 6’4” defender will be expected to marshal Watford against opposition onslaughts. You may remember Prödl from Euro 2008, where he won Austria a last-minute penalty to sneak a draw against Poland. It would be Austria’s only goal in the tournament they co-hosted, and who awarded that penalty? One Mr. Howard Webb. And what does that tell us about Prödl? Very little.

7. José Manuel Jurado

Jurado arrives with more pedigree than a pet shop. His career began at Real Madrid, crossed the city to join to Atletico, then visited both Schalke 04 and Spartak Moscow before making the illustrious transfer to Watford. The Spaniard will be looking to provide a goal threat from midfield, and, with Jurado previously linking up with manager Flores at Atletico Madrid, could well be a mainstay in the line-up.

8. Valon Behrami

At last we have someone with previous experience of English football. Behrami spent an accomplished two and a half years with West Ham United, although encumbered by injury problems. Behrami has returned to the south of England via Fiorentina, Napoli and Hamburg, demarcating his sought-after qualities of tenacity and drive in midfield. Don’t expect goals from this Swiss international though; he has not notched a league goal since he left West Ham.

10. Matěj Vydra

This one does not really feel like a new signing, for Vydra has already spent two years on loan at Watford. Only in this summer has the Czech international signed a five-year contract at Vicarage Road, and will look to translate his creative flair and his eye for goal from the Championship to the Premier League. His two seasons at Watford have yielded success, winning the Championship Player of the Year in the 2012/13 season. Vydra will be keen to show that he belongs in the top tier, a disappointing season at West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League sandwiched by the spells at Watford.

20. Steven Berghius

Berghius arrives from AZ Alkmaar for a moderate fee of £4.6 million, with this 23-year-old’s versatility across the front-line a real boon for a manager keen to set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Berghius delivered 11 goals in only 19 starts last season, although any mention of statistics such as these must be coupled with a disclaimer that the Eredivisie is not as tough as the Premier League. Still, Graziano Pelle made the switch to England look easy, and Berghius will offer both goals and assists if he can acclimatise to Watford.

25. José Holebas

In Daniel Pudil Watford already had a competent left-back; he’s good, but he ain’t no Holebas, girl. Holebas began his career on the wing but through necessity was pushed back into defence, although he has not forgotten how to attack. Previously at Italian giants AS Roma, the transfer to Watford was not one that Holebas saw coming. Watford had announced that Holebas had signed, but the Greek subsequently told gazzeta.gr

‘They arranged my transfer without asking me. I haven’t signed anything yet, I have to see the contract first. I don’t know why this has happened, I know that both Roma and Watford announced my transfer, but they’d have to talk to my representatives first. I never said I wanted to leave Roma. I’ll sign after first agreeing to the terms of the contract. I can’t understand what’s happened, I came back from my holiday in Dubai, and everyone started telling me my transfer had been officially announced. I’m in Germany right now, how could I sign a contract?”

It can’t be easy coming back from your holiday to find Roma have sold you to Watford, but Holebas seems to have warmed to the idea of a crack at the Premier League.

29. Étienne Capoue

Capoue should bring Premier League grit and know-how into the Watford midfield, although he only made 12 league appearances in each of his two seasons at Tottenham Hotspur. Regular football should be easier to find at Vicarage Road, especially considering the £6.3 million shelled out for him, and Capoue will hope to flourish and rediscover the imperious form he displayed for Toulouse in Ligue 1.

34. Giedrius Arlauskis

Last, and probably least, is the Lithuanian goalkeeper who will presumably play understudy to the enigmatic Heurelho Gomes. Arlauskis has already admitted that his move to Rubin Kazan in 2010 was motivated by money, as he spent four years mustering a meagre 7 appearances. Regular football at Steaua Bucharest last season has earned him this move to Watford. Gomes is indisputably erratic, so Arlauskis will fancy his chances in seizing a regular first-team berth.