In July 2015 Watford beat off competition from all over Europe to sign Steven Berghuis. The attacker arrived from AZ Alkmaar in a deal reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £4.6 million.
He was Watford’s 10th signing of the 2015 summer and that depth of competition stifled the Dutchman’s progress. Berghuis simply never got a good run of games at Watford. He featured in just nine Premier League matches for the Hornets, failing to score a single goal.
Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores suggested Berghuis’ training performances were behind his struggles. He was quoted by the Watford Observer as stating:
“Maybe some players in training are thinking that it is very easy to make Watford’s list. Maybe that is because we are humble team.
“But it is very difficult to choose every player because everyone wants to be in the in the first XI and the 18.
“So when a player is not on the list they need to think about what we need if they want to go on the list.”
Berghuis could not find a way into the team with Flores not playing a system that suited him out wide. In terms of playing as a striker, the Dutch talent was never going to budge Troy Deeney or Odion Ighalo from their lofty perches during that campaign.
Flores was not a fan, and his replacement Walter Mazzarri had a similar viewpoint. Berghuis left for Feyenoord on loan the following summer, with Watford fans never seeing the best of the Dutchman.
Now Watford must be wishing they still had the player on their books. Berghuis has been on fire for Feyenoord this season. He has been the star at Rotterdam throughout 2017-18. The 26-year-old has scored 17 goals this season in 35 games. Berghuis has established himself as a regular at Feyenoord after joining permanently in the summer. His form in Rotterdam has even seen him earn international caps for the Netherlands.
Watford have had a good season in the Premier League, despite the wobble after Marco Silva’s near-switch to Everton. However, it is fair to wonder how good Berghuis could have been at Watford if given the chance to thrive in the first-team.