Premier League transfer window: Who should Watford sign?
A look at the business facing Javi Gracia in his second summer at the club
Last Updated: 17/05/19 11:43am
Watford spent shrewdly rather than heavily last summer. Will they adopt the same approach to the transfer market following their 11th-placed finish this season?
The Hornets' came out in profit following Richarlison's £40m switch to Everton last summer. Gerard Deulofeu was the most expensive arrival at £15m, with Ben Foster and full-back Adam Masina also joining for a combined cost of £6.5m.
But what lies ahead this summer? We look at the potential areas in need of strengthening - and the players who have been linked with an exit.
The pundit's verdict
Phil Thompson: "When you think of Watford you always think of them as one of the big teams outside the top six who could always cause you damage, but they are not consistent enough.
Dare I say it, I think they need another striker as well! It doesn't seem as though Andre Gray is the answer and Troy Deeney is coming to the end of his time there it feels.
"They have quality in the middle of the park. I would aim for one player for each area, another defender, midfielder and striker just to beef it up. Not losing players will be important for Watford."
What do the stats say?
Watford made a flying start to the season, but their 11th-place finish means they are only the second team in Premier League history to win their first four games of the campaign and then finish outside the top-seven - the other being Charlton in 2005/06.
The late dip in form hints at a lack of depth, and there are also concerns over the age of the squad. At an average of 28 years and 323 days old, Watford's starting line-ups this season were the oldest in the Premier League, underlining the need to freshen things up.
Watford scored 52 Premier League goals but Deulofeu was the only player to reach double figures, with Tory Deeney (nine) and Andre Gray (seven) falling short. Do they need a more reliable goalscorer to lead the line?
Their total of 59 goals conceded, meanwhile, underlines the need for defensive reinforcements.
The manager's view
Javi Gracia: "I think I would like to keep the players we have, try to improve the squad, I have spoken with the owner and I spoke with him about that. We are thinking in the same direction. There is nothing different. We want to keep the best players. Some players are thinking about their future, but in this moment I think we can keep our squad and try to improve with some players in some positions.
"I think, in my opinion, we will have an even better squad next season."
What we know - The Sky Sports News insight
Dharmesh Sheth: "It will be more about the players that stay at Vicarage Road than those that come in. Gracia is confident of keeping hold of the squad which reached the club's first FA Cup final in 35 years.
"Midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has made no secret of his desire to play Champions League football with Paris Saint Germain interested, while winger Gerard Deulofeu has enjoyed a sensational campaign and is likely to have caught the eye.
"As for incomings, Watford are expected to be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper, with Heurelho Gomes likely to retire following the Wembley showpiece against Premier League champions Manchester City."
What positions are Watford targeting?
Heurelho Gomes's exit means there is a space for a No 2 goalkeeper to compete with Ben Foster, and the Hornets will also target reinforcements in all three positions across the defence as well as another winger.