Across social media Watford FC have come under criticism from Championship and now Premiership fans over the last three years. With the Pozzo family as owners, Watford have operated with an unusual yet perfectly legal transfer policy due to the Pozzo’s owning two other clubs and having an extensive scouting network.
I’ve decided to pick up on three of the famous accusations about Watford transfers and explain why they just aren’t correct.
The Serie A Myth
Firstly, this year many fans have criticised the Hornets for apparently signing players just from the Italian Serie A. With regards to this I am not sure really why it has been brought up this year. Perhaps Two years ago, when Watford signed a lot of players from fellow Pozzo-owned club Udinese, who are in Serie A, this point may have been relevant. Personally, I don’t see the problem with signing players from one particular league.
However, the statement that this year Watford have just signed players from the Serie A is just is not true. Four of Watford’s ten signings were from the Serie A, which includes Allan Nyom, who just spent five years in the La Liga rather than Italy, Matej Vydra who was previously on loan to Watford, Jose Holebas from Roma and Miguel Britos from Napoli. Watford have also signed two players from the Bundesliga and one from the Premier League, Russian League, Eredivisie and the Romanian League. Quite a diverse range of leagues in actuality.
The QPR Comparison
Secondly, Many times I’ve seen or heard people state that Watford are doing “a QPR“. Last summer alone, QPR spent a total of £35.5 million on players and in January they spent a further £22.25 million, signing a total of 13 players.
If people are referring to the 12/13 Premier League season rather than the most recent one then during that season QPR signed 27 players for a combined total of about £37 million. We can see that Watford just don’t compare at all, signing 10 players for a combined total of an estimated £20 million is hardly the same.
If fans are referring to the wage bill QPR famously spent more on wages than the then Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid, and reportedly gave Joey Barton £70,000 per week. Although we can’t get the figures yet for this year, in 2014 Watford spent £11.9 million on wages compared to QPR’s £78 million the year before. I hardly doubt Watford will increase their wages by more than 600% to even come close to QPR’s wage bill when they were in the Premiership.
The Home Grown Moan
Lastly, there is the argument that Watford will break the rules because they can’t include 8 home-grown players in their 25 man squad. Despite this being incorrect we first have to look at the rules because they don’t state that you must include 8 home-grown players. The rules refer to a maximum of 17 foreign players over the age of 21. Thus, if a club wants a squad of 25 players then they have to include 8 home-grown players. A club can have a squad of 21 and include 17 foreign players and 4 home-grown.
The Hornet’s will probably include 8 home-grown players in Deeney, Catchart, Gilmartin, Watson, Murray, Anya, Doyley and Hoban. Although Hoban can be included as an under 21 player as well as Dennon Lewis if he is not loaned out. For any Watford fans wondering about Lloyd Dyer, I didn’t include him due to evidence suggesting he won’t be a Watford player for much longer.
However apparently Watford having less home-grown players is what’s wrong with English football.
Linking in to this home-grown players discussion it’s not that the Pozzo family don’t want English players, it’s the ridiculous transfer fee and wages that English players can command.
Let’s take fellow promoted clubs Bournemouth and Norwich as examples. Bournemouth have so far only paid for one player in this transfer window, spending £8 million on Tyrone Mings. Norwich also haven’t spent yet but are close to signing Brady for £7 million.
This adds up to a total of £15 million spent for the 2 players whereas Watford have signed Capoue, Behrami, Berghuis and Holebas all for about £14.5 million. Double the amount of players for a lower pice.
Jurado’s transfer fee has only been speculated but if we include him as well then the total amount spent is about £20 million.
I am not saying that Norwich or Bournemouth have struck a bad deal in signing these players, I am just proving the point that in terms of value for money a club gets more if they sign players from abroad. The Pozzo’s are no fools and they realised this, hence Watford have largely signed players from outside the UK to avoid spending ridiculous money on English players.
So there you have it, my response to the criticism of Watford transfer dealings. I hope this helps in explaining why some of the accusations against the Hertfordshire club just are not correct.