Watford activate option to sign Algeria international Essaid Belkalem permanently

Picture: Holly Cant

Picture: Holly Cant

First published in Latest Sport
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Group Sports Editor

Watford have confirmed they have activated the option to sign Algeria international Essaid Belkalem permanently.

Belkalem joined the Hornets last summer on loan from sister club Granada with a view to joining the Hertfordshire side permanently.

The Hornets yesterday confirmed to the Watford Observer that the option to sign him permanently was activated earlier this season. His contract runs until 2017.

The 25-year-old only made seven starts and three substitute appearances during his first season at Watford but he is part of Algeria's 23-man squad for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Comments (42)

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5:57pm Tue 3 Jun 14

cliff46 says...

All championship clubs will be practising their penalty kicking once they have read this.
All championship clubs will be practising their penalty kicking once they have read this. cliff46
  • Score: 3

6:00pm Tue 3 Jun 14

kevhenderson says...

Why? He showed no sign of quality and many signs of being a liability last season.
Why? He showed no sign of quality and many signs of being a liability last season. kevhenderson
  • Score: 14

6:08pm Tue 3 Jun 14

soulfulhornet says...

Bit surprised as he showed little on the pitch to warrant a permament signing. May be he showed something in training and that we just have not seen the best of him yet (I would be worried if we had)- at least I hope so. The most puzzling of the signings this summer so far.
Bit surprised as he showed little on the pitch to warrant a permament signing. May be he showed something in training and that we just have not seen the best of him yet (I would be worried if we had)- at least I hope so. The most puzzling of the signings this summer so far. soulfulhornet
  • Score: 19

6:13pm Tue 3 Jun 14

londomollari says...

Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.
Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training. londomollari
  • Score: 20

6:20pm Tue 3 Jun 14

seen more than many says...

londomollari wrote:
Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.
This should be explained to us as to why??? What a waste of money on salary etc
[quote][p][bold]londomollari[/bold] wrote: Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.[/p][/quote]This should be explained to us as to why??? What a waste of money on salary etc seen more than many
  • Score: 0

6:43pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Surbiton says...

londomollari wrote:
Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.
It certainly is a surprise. Doesn't seem to have any pace or ability to turn quickly. Even he admitted he needed to get up to speed for the Championship.
[quote][p][bold]londomollari[/bold] wrote: Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.[/p][/quote]It certainly is a surprise. Doesn't seem to have any pace or ability to turn quickly. Even he admitted he needed to get up to speed for the Championship. Surbiton
  • Score: 10

6:48pm Tue 3 Jun 14

goldenboy76 says...

This is a serious concern it's obvious to anyone watching him that he's not up to the required standard. Nani has got about 20 per cent of his signings right so far. Not good enough.
This is a serious concern it's obvious to anyone watching him that he's not up to the required standard. Nani has got about 20 per cent of his signings right so far. Not good enough. goldenboy76
  • Score: 5

6:50pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Feff says...

Ridiculous
Ridiculous Feff
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Tue 3 Jun 14

this is doyley!!! says...

He was never 100% fit. Give him a chance and he will impress for us next season (if not at the world cup)
He was never 100% fit. Give him a chance and he will impress for us next season (if not at the world cup) this is doyley!!!
  • Score: 24

7:01pm Tue 3 Jun 14

SAHornet says...

Didn't see that one coming. Hope we keep Hoban. Great young prospect. Maybe Ekstrand is going ???
Didn't see that one coming. Hope we keep Hoban. Great young prospect. Maybe Ekstrand is going ??? SAHornet
  • Score: 2

7:47pm Tue 3 Jun 14

jaemae2 says...

If Tamas and Belkalem are on the field at the same time next year, this defense is going to be really ugly and porous and likely the team will be playing with 9 men regularly... I was upset at the Tamas signing, but this one is kinda shocking.
If Tamas and Belkalem are on the field at the same time next year, this defense is going to be really ugly and porous and likely the team will be playing with 9 men regularly... I was upset at the Tamas signing, but this one is kinda shocking. jaemae2
  • Score: -12

7:48pm Tue 3 Jun 14

WFCinexile says...

He's an absolute monster, if we can get him fit, following a full pre-season schedule, we may start to see what he's capable of. He looked way off the pace last season and overweight. I'd like to think that the club know what they are doing with him. I do think that there is potential there....
He's an absolute monster, if we can get him fit, following a full pre-season schedule, we may start to see what he's capable of. He looked way off the pace last season and overweight. I'd like to think that the club know what they are doing with him. I do think that there is potential there.... WFCinexile
  • Score: 27

8:13pm Tue 3 Jun 14

only5foot3 says...

Sounds like he was signed earlier on season. Not just recently. So we cannot view this as a summer signing.
Sounds like he was signed earlier on season. Not just recently. So we cannot view this as a summer signing. only5foot3
  • Score: 0

8:14pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Ricky Holden says...

Big Lloyd Carthorse and Little Lloyd Carthorse. Let's hope they never play together
Big Lloyd Carthorse and Little Lloyd Carthorse. Let's hope they never play together Ricky Holden
  • Score: -25

8:16pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Sealegs says...

Errrr.....why?
Errrr.....why? Sealegs
  • Score: -6

8:29pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Nick El Greco says...

On the basis of what i've seen so far I would prefer to see him paying Bassini a late night visit than playing in the first team but I am more than prepared to be proved wrong
On the basis of what i've seen so far I would prefer to see him paying Bassini a late night visit than playing in the first team but I am more than prepared to be proved wrong Nick El Greco
  • Score: 8

8:37pm Tue 3 Jun 14

WatfordFcRob7 says...

I agree that the player we saw last season possibly wasn't worth signing on a permanent but I then think that he is only 25 which means he has lots of time to improve, didn't spend pre-season with us last season (correct me if I'm wrong there) so wasn't fully fit, had no experience of the English game before last season (let alone the Championship).

I can think of several worse defender signings over the years than Belkalem (Vega & Neill are 2 that spring to mind immediately).

Good luck for next season Essaid.

I will be getting behind whoever pulls on the yellow shirt next season!
Come On You 'Orns!
I agree that the player we saw last season possibly wasn't worth signing on a permanent but I then think that he is only 25 which means he has lots of time to improve, didn't spend pre-season with us last season (correct me if I'm wrong there) so wasn't fully fit, had no experience of the English game before last season (let alone the Championship). I can think of several worse defender signings over the years than Belkalem (Vega & Neill are 2 that spring to mind immediately). Good luck for next season Essaid. I will be getting behind whoever pulls on the yellow shirt next season! Come On You 'Orns! WatfordFcRob7
  • Score: 32

9:12pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Hornet Cornet says...

Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies.

HC
Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies. HC Hornet Cornet
  • Score: 32

9:22pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Poppet Bear says...

Looks mean....hopefully, he will eventually come good. World Cup experience must help.
Looks mean....hopefully, he will eventually come good. World Cup experience must help. Poppet Bear
  • Score: 5

9:49pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Goldenboy1960 says...

seen more than many wrote:
londomollari wrote:
Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.
This should be explained to us as to why??? What a waste of money on salary etc
So how would you do if you went to work in Algeria and couldn't speak the language?
[quote][p][bold]seen more than many[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]londomollari[/bold] wrote: Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.[/p][/quote]This should be explained to us as to why??? What a waste of money on salary etc[/p][/quote]So how would you do if you went to work in Algeria and couldn't speak the language? Goldenboy1960
  • Score: 4

10:33pm Tue 3 Jun 14

The BestTrip2011 says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies.

HC
In my view, he had chances...quite a few and we looked vulnerable every time he played. He certainly didn't look capable at this level so it is surprising we're seeking a permanent deal.
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies. HC[/p][/quote]In my view, he had chances...quite a few and we looked vulnerable every time he played. He certainly didn't look capable at this level so it is surprising we're seeking a permanent deal. The BestTrip2011
  • Score: -3

10:35pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Andrew1963 says...

Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.
Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him. Andrew1963
  • Score: 6

5:42am Wed 4 Jun 14

northofwatfordpete says...

Andrew1963 wrote:
Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.
I think that is the Pozzo way of thinking - maybe get back some of what we lost on Britt A.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.[/p][/quote]I think that is the Pozzo way of thinking - maybe get back some of what we lost on Britt A. northofwatfordpete
  • Score: -3

5:56am Wed 4 Jun 14

Sealegs says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies.

HC
I suppose they do need a bouncer for the corporate entertainment functions...
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies. HC[/p][/quote]I suppose they do need a bouncer for the corporate entertainment functions... Sealegs
  • Score: 2

6:33am Wed 4 Jun 14

RookerySG says...

Andrew1963 wrote:
Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.
You are right, that us exactly what thus is about. Every B and C list clubs from all the major leagues in the world send their managers and scouts to the world cup to unearth low cost players who shine on the biggest stage.

This is why we have signed him. If he had a few good games he will be in demand and guess who gets the transfer fees now - that's right we will.

I for one hope he has a cracking tournament and Tiny Tony Pulis is in attendance as this guy is a shoe in for any Pulis team. Roll on £6m from the selhurst mob!
[quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.[/p][/quote]You are right, that us exactly what thus is about. Every B and C list clubs from all the major leagues in the world send their managers and scouts to the world cup to unearth low cost players who shine on the biggest stage. This is why we have signed him. If he had a few good games he will be in demand and guess who gets the transfer fees now - that's right we will. I for one hope he has a cracking tournament and Tiny Tony Pulis is in attendance as this guy is a shoe in for any Pulis team. Roll on £6m from the selhurst mob! RookerySG
  • Score: 1

7:36am Wed 4 Jun 14

VOReason says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies.

HC
Who has hijacked your account?
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies. HC[/p][/quote]Who has hijacked your account? VOReason
  • Score: 2

7:54am Wed 4 Jun 14

seen more than many says...

Goldenboy1960 wrote:
seen more than many wrote:
londomollari wrote:
Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.
This should be explained to us as to why??? What a waste of money on salary etc
So how would you do if you went to work in Algeria and couldn't speak the language?
Football is the language, but with no pace, no class and no brain, he is still crap even if he spoke the Queen's English.
[quote][p][bold]Goldenboy1960[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]seen more than many[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]londomollari[/bold] wrote: Now that's a surprise. They must see more from him in training.[/p][/quote]This should be explained to us as to why??? What a waste of money on salary etc[/p][/quote]So how would you do if you went to work in Algeria and couldn't speak the language?[/p][/quote]Football is the language, but with no pace, no class and no brain, he is still crap even if he spoke the Queen's English. seen more than many
  • Score: -6

8:26am Wed 4 Jun 14

Chris the Vic says...

Not my first choice for signing, but if a good pre season will change his performance level in a positive way maybe he will come good.. He has a lot to prove just hope he manages to
Not my first choice for signing, but if a good pre season will change his performance level in a positive way maybe he will come good.. He has a lot to prove just hope he manages to Chris the Vic
  • Score: 3

8:34am Wed 4 Jun 14

Hornet Cornet says...

VOReason wrote:
Hornet Cornet wrote:
Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies.

HC
Who has hijacked your account?
I don't know mate, I feel like a calm has descended upon me. Maybe it's because of last season's rubbishness that I am clinging onto any facet of positivity I can, maybe it's because everyone deserves a bit of time to settle, maybe it's because I'm a Londoner that I love London towwwwn....

HC
[quote][p][bold]VOReason[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies. HC[/p][/quote]Who has hijacked your account?[/p][/quote]I don't know mate, I feel like a calm has descended upon me. Maybe it's because of last season's rubbishness that I am clinging onto any facet of positivity I can, maybe it's because everyone deserves a bit of time to settle, maybe it's because I'm a Londoner that I love London towwwwn.... HC Hornet Cornet
  • Score: 3

9:09am Wed 4 Jun 14

HornetJJ says...

I don't get it he is a total liability. Regardless of whether he was fully fit or not, some of the decisions and tackles he made were ridiculous and had nothing to do with fitness! Whenver he was on the pitch you just knew a penalty wasn't far away.
I don't get it he is a total liability. Regardless of whether he was fully fit or not, some of the decisions and tackles he made were ridiculous and had nothing to do with fitness! Whenver he was on the pitch you just knew a penalty wasn't far away. HornetJJ
  • Score: -1

9:10am Wed 4 Jun 14

Mickey Quinn, not so thin says...

I guess Essaid just scowled across the table and fearing for his life the wfc representative duly signed. No other logical explanation.
I guess Essaid just scowled across the table and fearing for his life the wfc representative duly signed. No other logical explanation. Mickey Quinn, not so thin
  • Score: 2

9:19am Wed 4 Jun 14

cliff46 says...

Mickey Quinn, not so thin wrote:
I guess Essaid just scowled across the table and fearing for his life the wfc representative duly signed. No other logical explanation.
I like it Mickey Quinn, that is the only possibility that makes any sense.
[quote][p][bold]Mickey Quinn, not so thin[/bold] wrote: I guess Essaid just scowled across the table and fearing for his life the wfc representative duly signed. No other logical explanation.[/p][/quote]I like it Mickey Quinn, that is the only possibility that makes any sense. cliff46
  • Score: 1

9:34am Wed 4 Jun 14

SamTheEagle says...

I know he was a bit younger but thinking back to 2010 when Troy Deeney joined the club I clearly remember supporters saying what a waste of £250k he was. Deeney scored 3 times in 40 games in his first season and 12 in 46 in his second. Maybe Belkalem needs time to settle too. Maybe just maybe!
I know he was a bit younger but thinking back to 2010 when Troy Deeney joined the club I clearly remember supporters saying what a waste of £250k he was. Deeney scored 3 times in 40 games in his first season and 12 in 46 in his second. Maybe Belkalem needs time to settle too. Maybe just maybe! SamTheEagle
  • Score: 9

10:10am Wed 4 Jun 14

EstebanSemtex says...

Some people needs to get some perspective. We've just signed an international defender who is playing at the World Cup. This is a good thing. I remember times when signing an unknown clogger from League 2 was cause for celebration.

Belkalem was played less than a handful of times with fewer starts. He clearly lacking match fitness and wasn't afforded a pre-season to learn the system, bond with his team mates and get settled in a new country. as such, his limited performances were ok. Not awful. Not great. His introduction at Barnsley away completely took O'Grady out of the game when he was looking like becoming a threat. Big Belk sat on him and marked him out of the rest of the contest. This is a skill we sorely needed last season. Ishmail Miller anyone?

With a a solid World Cup, a full Pre-season and some conditioning training, this guy looks like the nasty, hard man in defense a lot of you have been clamouring for. Give the guy a break and try being optimistic once in while.
Some people needs to get some perspective. We've just signed an international defender who is playing at the World Cup. This is a good thing. I remember times when signing an unknown clogger from League 2 was cause for celebration. Belkalem was played less than a handful of times with fewer starts. He clearly lacking match fitness and wasn't afforded a pre-season to learn the system, bond with his team mates and get settled in a new country. as such, his limited performances were ok. Not awful. Not great. His introduction at Barnsley away completely took O'Grady out of the game when he was looking like becoming a threat. Big Belk sat on him and marked him out of the rest of the contest. This is a skill we sorely needed last season. Ishmail Miller anyone? With a a solid World Cup, a full Pre-season and some conditioning training, this guy looks like the nasty, hard man in defense a lot of you have been clamouring for. Give the guy a break and try being optimistic once in while. EstebanSemtex
  • Score: 20

10:34am Wed 4 Jun 14

WirralHornet64 says...

Wouldn't it be nice if so called "fans" gave players a chance instead of getting on their backs. The guy is about to play in the World Cup for his country.
Or would you rather we went back to Garner or Iwelumo
Wouldn't it be nice if so called "fans" gave players a chance instead of getting on their backs. The guy is about to play in the World Cup for his country. Or would you rather we went back to Garner or Iwelumo WirralHornet64
  • Score: 6

11:14am Wed 4 Jun 14

EstebanSemtex says...

WirralHornet64 wrote:
Wouldn't it be nice if so called "fans" gave players a chance instead of getting on their backs. The guy is about to play in the World Cup for his country. Or would you rather we went back to Garner or Iwelumo
Exactly!

That said, the squad have mentioned that Iwelumo's presence was a great loss and did you see that belter Garner scored in the Playoffs?

*Carefully takes off Devil's Advocate hat*
[quote][p][bold]WirralHornet64[/bold] wrote: Wouldn't it be nice if so called "fans" gave players a chance instead of getting on their backs. The guy is about to play in the World Cup for his country. Or would you rather we went back to Garner or Iwelumo[/p][/quote]Exactly! That said, the squad have mentioned that Iwelumo's presence was a great loss and did you see that belter Garner scored in the Playoffs? *Carefully takes off Devil's Advocate hat* EstebanSemtex
  • Score: 2

12:28pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Under The Scoreboard says...

northofwatfordpete wrote:
Andrew1963 wrote:
Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.
I think that is the Pozzo way of thinking - maybe get back some of what we lost on Britt A.
Wouldn't be at all surprised to see Britt at a championship club next season after banging in 35 odd goals.
[quote][p][bold]northofwatfordpete[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: Let's hope he has a brilliant 3 games in the World Cup and a club offers £4 million for him.[/p][/quote]I think that is the Pozzo way of thinking - maybe get back some of what we lost on Britt A.[/p][/quote]Wouldn't be at all surprised to see Britt at a championship club next season after banging in 35 odd goals. Under The Scoreboard
  • Score: -2

1:53pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Bracknell Hornet says...

I must be missing something, when I saw him play milk turned quicker coupled with the finesse of an angry badger

That said does this mean that we have a player in the World Cup Panini sticker album?
I must be missing something, when I saw him play milk turned quicker coupled with the finesse of an angry badger That said does this mean that we have a player in the World Cup Panini sticker album? Bracknell Hornet
  • Score: 2

1:55pm Wed 4 Jun 14

WirralHornet64 says...

Bracknell Hornet wrote:
I must be missing something, when I saw him play milk turned quicker coupled with the finesse of an angry badger

That said does this mean that we have a player in the World Cup Panini sticker album?
Yes he is 592
[quote][p][bold]Bracknell Hornet[/bold] wrote: I must be missing something, when I saw him play milk turned quicker coupled with the finesse of an angry badger That said does this mean that we have a player in the World Cup Panini sticker album?[/p][/quote]Yes he is 592 WirralHornet64
  • Score: 3

1:56pm Wed 4 Jun 14

WirralHornet64 says...

Yes, he is 592. Choo Yung Park also says Watford FC on his sticker
Yes, he is 592. Choo Yung Park also says Watford FC on his sticker WirralHornet64
  • Score: 4

2:48pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Feff says...

Belkalem and Tamas as central defenders? You are joking Mr. Nani!
Belkalem and Tamas as central defenders? You are joking Mr. Nani! Feff
  • Score: -1

2:23am Sat 7 Jun 14

bishopofwatford says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies.

HC
Good point on present staff he possible justifies a place on our bench.

I think there may be other motives behind this signing....namely his showing in the world cup...all he needs is one competent ,neuralising performance against a hot pick opponent and bingo.....we sell him for £10mio plus tp some club with more money than sense ..possibly a likely candidate the championship champs last season!!!

Hope so....any good luck to him and all those involved !
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: Folks if he's good enough to play in the World Cup then he's got to be good enough for little old us. He didn't look great when we saw him but he's obviously got some pedigree about him. Give him a chance you whinging pansies. HC[/p][/quote]Good point on present staff he possible justifies a place on our bench. I think there may be other motives behind this signing....namely his showing in the world cup...all he needs is one competent ,neuralising performance against a hot pick opponent and bingo.....we sell him for £10mio plus tp some club with more money than sense ..possibly a likely candidate the championship champs last season!!! Hope so....any good luck to him and all those involved ! bishopofwatford
  • Score: 0

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