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Have Watford Clouded Judgement After Gray Move?

Watford have often be accused of lacking any real identity due to the fact that there is a constant carousel of players coming in and out Vicarage Road due to the business model in which the Pozzo family who own the club have implemented.

But with a new manager at the helm this season in the form of Marco Silva it looks as if The Hornets are now trying to actually build for the future and not just take in another handful of loan signings from across the continent, there is no greater evidence than that than yesterday.

That is because they have paid a club record fee in signing Andre Gray from Burnley for £18.5m. In today’s current post Neymar market landscape that is obviously small change but with any club record outlay there is always going to be expectations no matter what level you are in.

And with someone who scored 9 top flight goals last season questions will be asked as to whether or not this is good value for money. Burnley were left with little choice to but to sell and will no doubt be content that they almost doubled what they paid to acquire him from Brentford back in 2015.

For Watford they will have identified the former Luton man as a forward who can lighten Troy Deeney’s load as the reliance on him has been too great over the past couple of seasons since their return to the top flight. In Watford’s first season since their return the partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo looked fearsome.

They may have had a near terminal slump that was ultimately the undoing for Quique Sanchez Flores but in the first half of the 2015/16 particularly those two players looked did look a real handful both metaphorically and literally as they created a real nuisance for opposition defences.

Fast forward to last season though and the partnership had not only disintegrated with the sale of Ighalo but also club captain Deeney struggled to hit the same personal heights that he had set the campaign before. Whether that was because the burden was too much is something that can be argued but he was not quite the same player as before.

So with the addition of Andre Gray there will be two factors in play going forward firstly can he score the goals that Watford have paid him to do so and also can he reignite a fire in the Birmingham born Deeney as the latter may well also have to worry about his first team place should he not be able to find the net.

Walter Mazzarri showed last season that Deeney is not someone who is above being dropped to the bench and you would imagine that Marco Silva as a new boss will also have his own ideas. Whether that means these two can work together remains to be seen but I don’t think the former Hull boss will be concerned if he has to demote Deeney to a peripheral role on matchdays.

Whether Gray’s signing can be qualified as a success will only really be measured on two fronts, firstly does get goals for his new club. He will have to at least hit double figures I would imagine for people to consider it a solid season and if his contribution can steer Watford away from the drop zone then it will look like an astute purchase.

Watford finished 17th last season and although that is something of a false position due to the fact that they downed tools in those final weeks they will not want to be hovering around that area once again, this will be an interesting campaign for The Hornets as they need to really start building a platform in the Premier League.

It is almost a case of diminishing returns for this club as the lack of cohesion stops them from really making any real strides at this level, the model at present may work in that there is always someone new at the helm but for just how long can they get away with it. Time will tell if their luck runs out this time around.

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