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Why Watford Are One Of The Premier League's Best-Run Clubs


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After a turgid end to last season, Watford have begun this term well, currently in 8th place after 12 games, playing in a far more attractive style than what was served under Walter Mazzarri.

Not surprisingly, the team's form has caught the attention of some of the bigger teams in the Premier League, with Richarlison, the 20-year-old Brazilian winger who has already chipped in with 5 goals since arriving in the summer, being linked with a move to Tottenham.

More notably, head coach Marco Silva has been the subject of much attention from Everton, with the Goodison Park outfit having two hefty compensation offers rebuffed by Watford owner Gino Pozzo.

Although Silva looks to be staying at Watford for now, to many it does seem like a matter of time before he will be moving on to a bigger stage. Losing such a bright young manager would be an undoubted blow, however Watford are in a better position than most to survive this. The club's ownership has the ultimate say in footballing matters, and while this can cause frustration to managers (including Silva himself), it does have its benefits.

For example, at Everton, Ronald Koeman found identifying his own targets much harder than leaving recruitment in the hands of the board like at Southampton. Sunderland are also now counting the cost of successive managers bringing in their own players, many of whom found themselves unwanted by the next manager. Under Watford's system, losing a good manager would be no disaster, just as the negative effects of a poor appointment are minimised.

The Pozzo family certainly know what they are doing when it comes to scouting and recruitment. Gino Pozzo's father, Giampaolo, formerly in charge at Watford, is the long-term owner of Udinese, the club who first brought stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Juan Cuadrado to Europe. Watford have used these connections to their advantage, dipping into the South American market twice, signing Venezuelan star Adalberto Penaranda in addition to Richarlison. Penaranda, one of the stars of La Vinotinto's run to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup final, is currently yet to receive a UK work permit, but on his potential arrival at Vicarage Road, he could be yet another shrewd Pozzo signing.

It is not just in South America where the Pozzos have unearthed some gems. Abdoulaye Doucoure's career has gone from strength to strength since signing from Rennes in 2016. The Frenchman is proving to be a big hit amongst the club's fans, impressing with his break-up play, passing and scoring ability. Were it not for a particularly strong French midfield line-up, he would surely have been capped already by Les Bleus.

Domestically, Watford have also done well in the transfer market of late. Nathaniel Chalobah endured a frustrating time at boyhood club Chelsea, but impressed England boss Gareth Southgate sufficiently to earn an international call-up before a knee injury put him on the sidelines. Tom Cleverley struggled to break into the starting line-ups at Manchester United and Everton, but has flourished on his return to Hertfordshire. Finally, despite a frustrating start to the season, fomer Derby starlet Will Hughes has recently begun to show the kind of ability which attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs in the country as a teenager.

Whatever the future holds for Watford, the expertise of the Pozzo family has transformed a mediocre, financially troubled Championship club into one establishing themselves as a solid Premier League outfit. Even if key personnel decide to move on, Hornets fans can have confidence in the ownership to make the right decisions to continue the club's progression.

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