Is Roberto Pereyra perfect for Walter Mazzarri's system at Watford?
Watford haven’t completed much major business in this transfer window, but they appear to be closing in on the signing of Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra. A fee has reportedly been agreed between the two clubs, believed to be in the region of £13 million. He has failed to become a regular at Juventus, since joining the club in 2014 and a move suits all parties. Watford can provide regular first-team football and it will be a huge coup if they can complete the deal.
The deal has been made possible, due to the links that the Pozzo family have in Italy. Pereyra used to play for Udinese, who are also owned by the Pozzo family, therefore it isn’t surprising that they are looking to bring the Argentine to Watford. The transfer policy at Watford sometimes referred to as ‘Pozzonomics’ is also employed by the family at Udinese. They have previously had success by bringing Pereyra to Udinese and will be hoping that he have a similar impact at Watford.
Watford are now their primary project as the finances of the Premier League far exceed those of Serie A. They need to consolidate in the league and they recognise that further investment is needed to do so comfortably this season. Pereyra is an excellent midfielder and would improve on the options already at the club.
During their opening fixture, new manager Walter Mazzarri decided to use a 3-5-2 formation, which Pereyra is tailor-made for. He has experience playing in such a formation in Serie A and would provide the dynamism that Watford lacked on Saturday. The Hornets struggled to keep hold of the ball with Southampton dominating possession and this was largely due to their transition play. None of their central midfielders are comfortable running with the ball and they lack the ability to play intricate passes. Adlene Guedioura is a good squad option, but Pereyra would be a significant upgrade.
Their other central midfielders Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue add work rate and tenacity. The latter is a great reader of the play and excellent at retrieving possession. Both Behrami and Capoue made six tackles and three interceptions against Southampton. They are a great base to Watford’s midfield, but Mazzarri needs to add drive and creativity, otherwise the side will be relying on Troy Deeney in the final third.
Although he was excellent at Udinese, Pereyra struggled to find a position at Juventus. He featured prominently in his first season, but he was used in a variety of roles. Then last season, he played just 13 times in Serie A, which was disappointing. During his time at the club, he has been a victim of his own adaptability. He is able to play to play nearly every role in the midfield and as a result, failed to make one position his own. This won’t be the case at Watford and he will benefit from not being shifted around every week.
For those that haven’t seen Pereyra play, he is a powerful runner with the ball and will quickly get Watford onto the front foot after the ball has been retrieved by one of the more tenacious midfielders in the side. He has an eye for a pass, which the side need to effectively service Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. Throughout his career, he hasn’t been hugely productive in the final third, but that is a side effect from being used in a number of roles. He could thrive in the advanced role that he will play at Watford.
He should be able to adjust to the Premier League quickly as Serie A is similarly robust and he has built up an impressive upper body strength during his time in Italy. The Argentine is very good at instigating breakouts with his ability to glide past players using his quick turn of pace. If he joins Watford as expected, he will improve their transition play and add much-needed creativity in the final third.
The mid-table clubs in the Premier League can now attract Champions League quality players and Pereyra is an example of that. He could be one of the signings of the summer. Watford play a system that will suit Pereyra and he will do well. At the age of 25, he will be seeing Watford as a great opportunity to showcase his skills in the Premier League. It is an ambitious move from Watford, but one that makes a lot of sense.
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