Watford secured a great deal but were they right to sell Britt Assombalonga to Peterborough United?

This Is Local London: Britt Assombalonga celebrating his hat-trick earlier this month. Picture: Action Images Britt Assombalonga celebrating his hat-trick earlier this month. Picture: Action Images

Britt Assombalonga had not played in League One prior to this season and had struggled in his four outings for Watford at Championship level.

So when Peterborough United broke their transfer record to buy the striker for £1.2m plus additional clauses, it seemed like a good deal for the Hornets - especially with the youngster fifth in the pecking order at Vicarage Road.

However, that assessment was questioned immediately as Assombalonga scored eight goals in his first ten matches for The Posh and after a nine-game run without a goal, he has since made it 14 in 25 outings so far this season.

The fact summer signings Diego Fabbrini, an Italy international, and ex-Real Madrid B striker Javier Acuna have failed to live up to the early promise shown in pre-season, make the decision to sell Assombalonga even more questionable.

Assombalonga scored 16 goals in 49 outings for League Two side Southend United last season but a £1.2m fee for a largely untested, 20-year-old striker seemed like reasonable business in the summer. But the Watford Observer understands the Hornets also have a 50 per cent sell-on clause and first option to buy back the striker, so considering Peterborough's track record for developing players and selling them on in multi-million pound deals, it made the offer even more enticing.

The Golden Boys' hierarchy were asked about the decision to sell Assombalonga at Monday night's fans' forum at Vicarage Road.

Head coach Gianfranco Zola explained: "At the beginning of the season when we had to make that decision, it was a tough one because we know the qualities of Britt but in that moment the situation was different because we had a lot strikers and we didn't want to keep Britt and not play him. We wanted him to play and it was a good opportunity for the club in terms of economical reasons.

"I think the club believed it was the right thing to do."

Technical director Gian Luca Nani added: "He had never played in League One before the start of the season and at that time we didn't see him as being one of our [top four] strikers. He had a great chance to play regularly.

"They only wanted to buy him, they made a great offer to us and the player and at that time it was a great deal for everybody."

Time will ultimately tell whether it was a good deal or not. But at present, what do you think? Take part in our ballot below.

Assombalonga had a unique route into professional football, read about it here.

Comments (17)

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12:16pm Wed 11 Dec 13

stewbyhorn says...

Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball and cannot see into the future. No doubt Britt has great ability and an eye for goal but remember he has dropped down to division 1, it's difficult to always make the correct decision about players as on paper the 2new lads we brought in do look better prospects. Only time will tell but remember have the first option to buy him back.
Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball and cannot see into the future. No doubt Britt has great ability and an eye for goal but remember he has dropped down to division 1, it's difficult to always make the correct decision about players as on paper the 2new lads we brought in do look better prospects. Only time will tell but remember have the first option to buy him back. stewbyhorn

12:43pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Harry's Bar says...

Why drag this up again, it's pointless, let it go.
Why drag this up again, it's pointless, let it go. Harry's Bar

12:50pm Wed 11 Dec 13

SimmyB says...

Its one of them isn't it. League One is different to Championship football IMO. I just don't think he would have fitted into our style of football and probably would have spent most of his time on the bench. I'm pleased he's doing well at P'boro and wish him luck. I dare say he will appear in the Championship in the not too distant future.
Its one of them isn't it. League One is different to Championship football IMO. I just don't think he would have fitted into our style of football and probably would have spent most of his time on the bench. I'm pleased he's doing well at P'boro and wish him luck. I dare say he will appear in the Championship in the not too distant future. SimmyB

12:52pm Wed 11 Dec 13

SAHornet says...

stewbyhorn wrote:
Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball and cannot see into the future. No doubt Britt has great ability and an eye for goal but remember he has dropped down to division 1, it's difficult to always make the correct decision about players as on paper the 2new lads we brought in do look better prospects. Only time will tell but remember have the first option to buy him back.
....and if we do buy him back at some stage, it will only cost us 1.2m + 50% of the balance as I understand it. Sweet deal then, sweet deal now, I reckon.
[quote][p][bold]stewbyhorn[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball and cannot see into the future. No doubt Britt has great ability and an eye for goal but remember he has dropped down to division 1, it's difficult to always make the correct decision about players as on paper the 2new lads we brought in do look better prospects. Only time will tell but remember have the first option to buy him back.[/p][/quote]....and if we do buy him back at some stage, it will only cost us 1.2m + 50% of the balance as I understand it. Sweet deal then, sweet deal now, I reckon. SAHornet

1:15pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Poppet Bear says...

We'll never know !!!!
We'll never know !!!! Poppet Bear

2:35pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Cuetip says...

Poppet Bear wrote:
We'll never know !!!!
GREAT SONG TITLE
We'll never know
How much we miss him so
And he tried but couldn’t hide the goals
He should have scored
And away he went away to Peterborough
And now we speak his name
But if there is some way we could make a profit
To buy a better player I’m sure we will
But we will never know
How many goals he would have scored
Had he stayed
[quote][p][bold]Poppet Bear[/bold] wrote: We'll never know !!!![/p][/quote]GREAT SONG TITLE We'll never know How much we miss him so And he tried but couldn’t hide the goals He should have scored And away he went away to Peterborough And now we speak his name But if there is some way we could make a profit To buy a better player I’m sure we will But we will never know How many goals he would have scored Had he stayed Cuetip

2:36pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Letsalldothecongaforbrittassombalonga says...

So how does it work if we were to buy him back?Surely they would want to sell him back to us as then they would get to keep the money rather than give 50 percent away?
Unless we would have to pay more to make up for it. Any ideas guys?
So how does it work if we were to buy him back?Surely they would want to sell him back to us as then they would get to keep the money rather than give 50 percent away? Unless we would have to pay more to make up for it. Any ideas guys? Letsalldothecongaforbrittassombalonga

3:01pm Wed 11 Dec 13

HornetJJ says...

£1.2m is a lot of money for a player who is unproven in The Championship. He has done very well in League 1 but it is still a level below. For that reason it is impossible to predict whether he would have done as well in The Championship this season. I would say it was unlikely. Therefore I think for the amount of money involved and the fact Britt needed 1st team football it was the correct decicion by the club.
£1.2m is a lot of money for a player who is unproven in The Championship. He has done very well in League 1 but it is still a level below. For that reason it is impossible to predict whether he would have done as well in The Championship this season. I would say it was unlikely. Therefore I think for the amount of money involved and the fact Britt needed 1st team football it was the correct decicion by the club. HornetJJ

3:02pm Wed 11 Dec 13

ramage1996 says...

We messed up selling Britt, but time to move on.

He will be at a mid table Prem club this time next year.

This article is click bait, some on here didnt watch him alot in the reserves and didnt know that Villa nd Fulham scouts were watching him most games at Southend. I know this as I know the reserve physio at Southend.

He is a very talented player, and I hope he does well, time to move on from this mistake.
We messed up selling Britt, but time to move on. He will be at a mid table Prem club this time next year. This article is click bait, some on here didnt watch him alot in the reserves and didnt know that Villa nd Fulham scouts were watching him most games at Southend. I know this as I know the reserve physio at Southend. He is a very talented player, and I hope he does well, time to move on from this mistake. ramage1996

3:28pm Wed 11 Dec 13

bristol hornet says...

If we have got a 50 per cent sell on clause inserted, it is a fantastic deal.
If we have got a 50 per cent sell on clause inserted, it is a fantastic deal. bristol hornet

4:04pm Wed 11 Dec 13

peter10531089 says...

Selling him was not a mistake in itself it is only being called that as Fabbrini, Fessi and Acuna have failed to deliver goals. £1.2M (plus add ons) for someone totally unproven is a great deal - we all said so at the time and I think it still is - the challenge is for the Pozzo's and Nani to source a striker that makes the frontline fire consistently and allows Deeney to be rested without us loosing all sense fo power and strength from the forward line (i.e can we have someone who isnt an umpa lumpa).

Good luck Britt but please lets move on - Mensah and Ikpeazu were considered better bets in the long run.

COYH!
Selling him was not a mistake in itself it is only being called that as Fabbrini, Fessi and Acuna have failed to deliver goals. £1.2M (plus add ons) for someone totally unproven is a great deal - we all said so at the time and I think it still is - the challenge is for the Pozzo's and Nani to source a striker that makes the frontline fire consistently and allows Deeney to be rested without us loosing all sense fo power and strength from the forward line (i.e can we have someone who isnt an umpa lumpa). Good luck Britt but please lets move on - Mensah and Ikpeazu were considered better bets in the long run. COYH! peter10531089

4:06pm Wed 11 Dec 13

andyhooked says...

As Harry's Bar said it is done and dusted and the world is full of what ifs. That said, Troy needs someone to support him now that Vydra is no more and where will we find someone. I love FF but he aint going to get near to 20 goals per season.
As Harry's Bar said it is done and dusted and the world is full of what ifs. That said, Troy needs someone to support him now that Vydra is no more and where will we find someone. I love FF but he aint going to get near to 20 goals per season. andyhooked

4:13pm Wed 11 Dec 13

bigmeuprudeboy says...

Troy Deeney at the same age and at the same level as Britt when playing for Walsall..

12 goals in 45 games and then 14 goals in 42 games the next season.

Britt has 14 goals already this season and the season isnt even have way through.
Troy Deeney at the same age and at the same level as Britt when playing for Walsall.. 12 goals in 45 games and then 14 goals in 42 games the next season. Britt has 14 goals already this season and the season isnt even have way through. bigmeuprudeboy

4:28pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Hornet Cornet says...

Cuetip wrote:
Poppet Bear wrote: We'll never know !!!!
GREAT SONG TITLE We'll never know How much we miss him so And he tried but couldn’t hide the goals He should have scored And away he went away to Peterborough And now we speak his name But if there is some way we could make a profit To buy a better player I’m sure we will But we will never know How many goals he would have scored Had he stayed
quality.

I have to say that Peterborough must have seen and realised something in Britt that Watford management did not.

He could have been a decent replacement for Vydra but I'm guessing we'll never know.

HC
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Poppet Bear[/bold] wrote: We'll never know !!!![/p][/quote]GREAT SONG TITLE We'll never know How much we miss him so And he tried but couldn’t hide the goals He should have scored And away he went away to Peterborough And now we speak his name But if there is some way we could make a profit To buy a better player I’m sure we will But we will never know How many goals he would have scored Had he stayed[/p][/quote]quality. I have to say that Peterborough must have seen and realised something in Britt that Watford management did not. He could have been a decent replacement for Vydra but I'm guessing we'll never know. HC Hornet Cornet

6:47pm Wed 11 Dec 13

GoldenManc says...

With 20-20 hindsight probably no - but at least we now have the sense to put 50% sell-on clause & first refusal.
With 20-20 hindsight probably no - but at least we now have the sense to put 50% sell-on clause & first refusal. GoldenManc

12:16pm Thu 12 Dec 13

abbotshornet says...

It was a good bit of business at the time, unfortunately our struggles to bring in striker cover for Deeney has made it look a bit short sighted now.
It was a good bit of business at the time, unfortunately our struggles to bring in striker cover for Deeney has made it look a bit short sighted now. abbotshornet

1:40pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Harry's Bar says...

abbotshornet wrote:
It was a good bit of business at the time, unfortunately our struggles to bring in striker cover for Deeney has made it look a bit short sighted now.
Well yes, the issue isn't really Assombolonga, it's that we don't have, apart from Deeney, an effective striker at the Club. Fessi has ability but can't shoot, Fabbrini is class but too lightweight for this division and Acuna hasn't got anything that's going to hurt the opposition.
[quote][p][bold]abbotshornet[/bold] wrote: It was a good bit of business at the time, unfortunately our struggles to bring in striker cover for Deeney has made it look a bit short sighted now.[/p][/quote]Well yes, the issue isn't really Assombolonga, it's that we don't have, apart from Deeney, an effective striker at the Club. Fessi has ability but can't shoot, Fabbrini is class but too lightweight for this division and Acuna hasn't got anything that's going to hurt the opposition. Harry's Bar

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