The main headlines throughout the transfer window are all about the big money signings made by the top teams competing for the title, but the signings of those labouring to stay in the league for at least one more season can also catch the eye.
The signings these teams make are pivotal to not only the upcoming season, but also a future place cemented in the top flight. Stoke being an example for others to emulate, promoted in 2008 and who have not looked back since.
The newly promoted teams are always a major talking point in terms of if they can make the grade in the Premier League or fall back to the Championship. There are also a few others that are looking to survive the dreaded fall. After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, overcoming the so called ‘second season syndrome’, Watford will be looking to make it three Premier League survival seasons on the bounce.
In their return to the top flight during the 2015/16 season, after an almost 10-year absence, Watford finished a very respectable 13th.Embed from Getty Images
However, they fell to 17th, just one place above relegation with six points to spare the following term. In terms of goals scored the two seasons are identical, netting 40 in both. The difference is the goals they leaked, rising to a huge 60 goals conceded from just 50 the year before.
The signings of Femenia and Bachmann bolster the defensive aspect of the team but an ageing defence will require youthful signings to secure things at the back for years to come. Promising academy players may be the answer for the future, but a couple of more renowned signings may be required to ensure Premier League survival this time around. The astute £8m purchase of Will Hughes is a classy acquisition – one would expect Hughes to cement himself in Silva’s starting XI.
Whilst Watford’s attacking returns in the Premier League have been consistent, it is poor within the relativity of a team wanting to cement themselves in the Premier League. Ighalo and Deeney did an outstanding job for the Hornets on their first season back but the rest of the team’s contribution was far worse. The top scorers behind them only managing two goals between them.
With Ighalo moving to China for the 2016/17 season, Watford needed goals elsewhere. There was a greater team effort in collecting goals this time around but top scorer Deeney only managed 10 for the entirety of the season. A more prolific and proven Premier League striker may be on Marco Silva’s wish list to maintain their status in one of the world’s top leagues.
Silva proved his managerial worth at Hull though in order for one to proclaim a categorisation of class, he must go one further with Watford. Transfer backing is essential for Silva to achieve his aims, though who will be lining up for the Hornets in August? Only time will tell.
Written by Sam Brazier.