Is a transfer embargo the reason for the lack of Watford signings despite seven new arrivals?
The Football League and Watford have both refused to comment on whether the club’s lack of signings is due to a transfer embargo.
The Hornets have no less than seven new players, some of whom have been there more than two weeks, but there has been no confirmation on any signings.
Free agents Manuel Almunia and Fitz Hall and ‘trialists’ Daniel Pudil, Matej Vydra, Almen Abdi, Ikechi Anya and Steve Leo Beleck have all been training with the club and have travelled with the squad for games.
When asked why there has been such a long delay in announcing signings, Watford chief executive Scott Duxbury said: “There has been an extensive evaluation process ongoing since the start of pre-season involving a number of players – some of whom have featured in the friendly matches played so far.
“Official announcements and confirmations will be communicated via watfordfc.com, the club’s website, when it is appropriate to do so.”
The Watford Observer contacted the Football League and the Hornets on Wednesday to ask if the club were subject to a transfer embargo due to either the takeover or the Golden Boys’ HM Revenue & Customs bill. Both refused to confirm or deny.
Watford stated the club’s takeover has been fully ratified by the Football League but they refused to comment on whether they have paid their HMRC bill and how much the sum is.
The Hornets also refused to confirm if the Yellow and Red Lion Pub has changed hands following the club’s takeover, as former owner Laurence Bassini had stated he would be given the pub as part of the sale.
Granada left-back Pudil and Udinese midfielder Abdi have played in all three of Watford’s pre-season matches so far and Granada winger Anya and Udinese forward Leo Beleck both featured in the second half of Tuesday night’s win over Cork City.
Udinese striker Vydra has yet to play due to fitness issues, Hall went to the Wealdstone game on Saturday but did not make the squad and Almunia was an unused substitute in Ireland.
The Watford Observer have reported on the arrival of Pudil, Vydra, Abdi, Almunia and Hall in the last couple of weeks and on Saturday Anya and Beleck were spotted at a Hornets game for the first time.
Anya, 24, is a pacy winger who was born in Glasgow and started his professional career at Wycombe Wanderers, becoming the club’s youngest player in 2004 at the age of 16.
But he was released and after spending time at Oxford City and Halesowen Town, he joined the Glenn Hoddle Academy on the recommendation of John Gorman, who he worked with at Wycombe.
A brief stay at Northampton Town followed before a switch to Spain and Sevilla’s reserve side, and then Celta Vigo B.
He joined Granada last summer and was immediately loaned to Cadiz, who have links with the La Liga outfit.
Beleck is a strong 19-year-old forward who joined Udinese from Panthrakikos two years ago but has yet to make his debut for the Little Zebras and was loaned out to AEK Athens last season.
After a difficult start, he made 21 appearances and scored six times. Leo Beleck also featured in the Europa League six times.
The Watford Observer understands the Hornets are likely to add to the seven potential signings they have already lined up.
One of the players we expect the club to approach is former Watford forward Tommy Smith , who is currently at Premier League side Queens Park Rangers.
Smith started his career at Vicarage Road and after three years away at Sunderland and then Derby County, he returned to the club in 2006, where he remained for three years – winning the Player of the Season Trophy twice in consecutive years.
QPR team-mate DJ Campbell is also a player the Hornets are interested in.