Watford have been pursuing Valencia centre-back Aymen Abdennour for the past few days and there is hope that a deal can be clinched for the Tunisian international. Sky Sports reported that they had made a loan offer with an option to buy at £7 million.
Marco Silva is keen to strengthen the defensive options in the squad and views the 27-year-old as the perfect player to add quality. He came through as a highly-rated talent at Monaco, but things haven’t gone to plan in Spain.
Last season, he struggled for game-time and made only 15 league appearances. He was behind both Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala. Valencia have struggled in recent years and that has made it even more difficult to succeed for Abdennour.
A loan move could appeal to all parties and he would certainly provide the big-name signing that Watford want before the season begins. Although he is a priority target for the Hornets, his agent Adelkader Jilani told the Watford Observer that a move to Hertfordshire was only ‘possible’.
Would the Tunisian be a good signing for Watford?
Despite his struggles in La Liga, Abdennour has attracted interest from bigger English clubs in the past, such as Chelsea, as reported by the Daily Mail. His ability is clear and he could be a huge success in the Premier League if he is utilised properly.
The 27-year-old’s greatest strength is his aerial ability and his physicality would be perfectly suited to the game in this country. In Spain, his lack of confidence on the ball and poor passing technique have caused him problems. He isn’t a ball-playing centre-back and Watford would have to ensure he didn’t have to carry out that role if he was to move to Vicarage Road.
In a one-on-one contest, Abdennour is aggressive and he looks to win the ball back at the earliest opportunity. If he is on his game, this is an asset as he can quickly dispossess an opposition player, but at times, he is rash and lacking in discipline. His speed allows him to recover and make up ground quickly. This is something that he has to rely on often, as his positional sense is lacking.
Abdennour has the physical attributes to be a huge success in England and the fact that he is left-footed makes him somewhat of a commodity in the current market. He isn’t perfect but, under the right coach, he could be an excellent centre-back in the Premier League.
How likely is a transfer?
There is clearly interest in the player, as it has been reported by one of the most reputable sources in this country, while his agent has confirmed that a move is possible. They may have established themselves in the Premier League, but Watford aren’t the most attractive proposition for foreign players.
They represent a step down from Valencia and that could be one of the things holding up a move. That said, Marco Silva is an exciting coach and Abdennour needs a move to relaunch his once promising career. This one certainly has potential to happen during the coming weeks.