Date: 30th May 2013 at 10:59am
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Vital Watford address the futures of those players who futures are up in the air, starting with the players on-loan at Vicarage Road

WITH Watford`s fate for the 2013/14 season finally determined at Wembley Stadium on Monday, Vital Watford address the futures of those players who futures are up in the air, starting with the players on-loan at Vicarage Road.

5. Neuton: Such has been the limit of the Brazilian centre-back`s impact in WD18 this season that you could be forgiven for forgetting quite who Neuton is.

With only a handful of appearances for the first-team, chiefly made towards the back end of 2012, it seems unlikely that the former Gremio man will be back at Watford next season. Undoubtedly a talented, technically adept footballer, Neuton quite simply does not possess the Lloyd Doyley-esque desire to defend for 90 minutes.

He is your stereotypical ‘continental` defender; the ‘defending optional` type. And, whilst he has shown no little ability on the ball he has also been bullied off it or out of ariel contests too often to suggest he has an immediate future in English football.

Verdict: Return to Udinese.

13. Steve Leo Beleck: Beleck has made even less impact than Neuton but curiously has more of a chance of sticking around next season, at least to my mind.

The very fact that Watford/the Pozzos were prepared to re-loan the Cameroonian youth international out to League One Stevenage suggests that somebody somewhere sees something in the chunky forward.

Will Beleck be back next season or not though? On the basis that he clearly struggled to adapt to English football, not only in the Championship but also in League One, I have my doubts.

Verdict: Return to Udinese.

17. Matthew Briggs: Briggs has provided Daniel Pudil with some competition down the left-hand side but at the same time seemingly done his best to blow Watford`s promotion hopes at every opportunity.

Of course, the Fulham loanee isn`t purposely a liability, but got caught dozing for the equaliser against Burnley, was inept up at Hull and then allowed Anthony Knockaert to skip past him in those fateful final seconds versus Leicester.

He`s unlikely to be wanted back and unlikely to be back.

Verdict: Return to Fulham.

18. Daniel Pudil: Undoubtedly one of the big success stories of the initial batch of loanees, Pudil looks a dead-cert to sign on the dotted line at some point this summer.

The Czech Republic international has been a regular in the side, excelling at left wing-back and has been quick to declare his love for the club & town (city).

From Twitter: @Pupik33 “I love the club,city,supporters!!!! And I promise I will do everything to stay in the Club for next year!!!!! More then next year.”

Pudil has also used Twitter to tweet a number of pictures of his young son at the Vic` or in a Watford shirt and was in the town centre pouring drinks for the supporters following the memorable 3-2 victory over Leicester City.

Along with Fernando Forestieri, he is one of poster boys for the regime, and if there are any journalists or supporters out there who push the tired old line about the loanees not caring for the club, just have a look at how distraught Pudil was after the automatic promotion-costing defeat versus Leeds or the Play-off Final defeat by Crystal Palace.

And, as an added bonus, Pudil`s presence at the club next season could be something of a pull for Matej Vydra in deciding where his immediate future lies.

Verdict: Sign permanently.

20. Matej Vydra: With 22 Championship goals to his name at the age of 20, playing in another foreign country and capping it all by being named the Championship ‘Player of the Year`, there can be no doubt that Watford would like to keep Vydra in WD18.

Whether or not the Czech Republic international sees his future (at least in the short-term) at the Vic` remains to be seen, equally there is likely to be interest from other clubs. Whether or not that interest takes the form of a concrete offer or not – and whether any offer is tempting enough for the Pozzos to accept – also remains to be seen.

21. Ikechi Anya: The Glaswegian flyer`s improvement from one end of the season to the other has been phenomenal.

A flaky winger when he arrived, Anya has become the first-choice right wing-back, allowing Marco Cassetti to fill in at centre-half. A menace going forward but defensively diligent, Anya`s rollercoaster career path might just be about to take a stop in WD18.

Such has been the Scot`s improvement; he has become one of the first names on the team-sheet. A perfect fit for the system and seemingly keen to stick around too.

Verdict: Sign permanently.

Verdict: Sign permanently; if possible.

22. Almen Abdi: The Swiss international was rightly voted the club`s Player of the Season and is another player about which there can be little debate.

The best player on the park in a large chunk of the games he has played this season, Abdi is a cut above many of his peers and many of those he came up against.

Such has been has impact you would have to peg him as the next most likely after Vydra to be subject of a tempting offer from a club outside of the Pozzo trinity. At 26 he is in his pomp and would not necessarily command the kind of fee which the Pozzos would find hard to turn down; which is obviously in Watford`s favour.

Verdict: Sign permanently.

27. Marco Cassetti: Despite giving away two penalties during the Play-off campaign, the 36 year-old Italian has been a revelation at centre-half in the latter stages of the campaign and proven the old adage that age is ‘only a number.`

Udinese have the option of a second year on Cassetti`s contract which would mean the possibility of a return to Watford is open. However, with his family living in Italy still, that will undoubtedly be a factor in deciding whether or not another year in Watford is plausible.

The former Italian international has showed no signs of slowing this year and practices yoga to keep himself in peak condition. Assuming he`s happy and the coaching staff are happy, another year could be on the cards.

Verdict: Sign permanently, situation dependent.

36. Alex Geijo: Rarely deployed thanks to the form of messrs Deeney, Vydra and Forestieri, Geijo has on occasion – most notably during the Play-off campaign – shown his technical adeptness.

An intelligent footballer, but one who clearly does not suit the physical nature of the English game, Geijo is already 30 and would seem unlikely to be needed back next season.

As a ‘Plan B`, a reasonable option to have, but whether or not the Swiss-Spaniard will want to lose another year of his career to the bench will surely be a consideration.

Verdict: Return to Udinese.

37. Geoffrey Mujangi Bia: One of the biggest disappointments of the influx of loanees, the young Belgian prospect arrived to the fanfare of being a ‘hot young prospect chased by many other clubs`, according to the official site.

In the event, Mujangi Bia flattered to deceive and made just one start – at home to Bradford City in the League Cup. With only three substitute appearances in the league, the last of which came at Barnsley, it seems unlikely that the club will be taking up the permanent option on the 23 year-old.

Verdict: Return to Standard Liege.

38. Cristian Battocchio: Something of a late bloomer, the diminutive Italian had a slow start to the campaign but once he got going, stamped his authority on the midfield in a run of performances coinciding with our best form of the season.

A good alternative to Jonathan Hogg when Zola wants the side to move the ball quicker, the diminutive midfielder has proven he is up for the scrap as well as lending the touch of guile to proceedings that you would expect of an Italian youth international.

If he does stick around, the likely departure of Nathaniel Chalobah will certainly aid his quest for a regular starting berth.

Verdict: Sign permanently.

39. Nathaniel Chalobah: Running on fumes in recent weeks, the 18 year-old has had a superb debut campaign in professional football nonetheless.

Whilst there can be no doubting that Watford would love to keep the England U21 international in Hertfordshire, there will be loan offers from Premier League clubs this summer and Chalobah will surely want to test himself at a higher level.

Verdict: Loaned out to a Premier League club.

40. Joel Ekstrand: One of the mainstays of a defence which has seen every possible configuration used this term, the big Swede has been superb at the back.

Another who can be filed under the category of ‘definitely want to keep`, the only cause for concern is whether or not the 24 year-old`s performances will have caught the eye of any bigger clubs. Not yet at his peak, Ekstrand could be a worthwhile gamble for a top-flight side.

Verdict: Sign permanently.


8 Replies to “What does the future hold for: the loanees?”

  • Our downfall this season has been we’ve had too much flair & not enough grit or nastiness… I hope this changes for next season.. The three teams that went up had the balance just right.. Zola (although he’s done very well) has been outdone by more experienced managers tactically.. At Wembley Hollowhead slowed the pace of the game down at key times.. Teams who flood our midfield have lots of joy.. Alot of the time beating us.. More grit needed.. This upcoming season is gonna be so much harder than some Watford fans think.. The Championship is becoming the more exciting kid brother of the premier league.. Think in all honestly promotion could have been a bad thing as we are far from ready.. I might be wrong but.. Who’s to say…

  • The most important player to resign is our GK.. For me our unsung player of the season..

  • the team didnt start to play for the first 8 games, as they looked to become a team, points in those games and we would have run away with the league. I dont want to disagree with 1881, but sorry i do, Zolas tinkering cost us some points, Burnley at home, Bristol away, Millwall away any point from those games and we had gone up. The injuries in defence cost us big time and no signing aseasoned pro in Jan too..

  • Geijo was on-loan from Udinese. I know, being Spanish you’d expect him to come from Granada – people have questioned this on Twitter too! I have to echo 1881’s sentiments re. next season. This season will be so much harder than those who think it will be a procession to the PL think. I don’t think anyone on here thinks that, but a lot of people on Twitter/that I speak to seem to think it will be a cakewalk. It’s a wonderful division to be a part of and as I outlined the other day, I’m really not bothered about missing out on promotion!

  • The thing with Zola tinkering is if he hadn’t done it 75% of the players wouldn’t have lasted even as long as they did.. For me the lack of game time last season with the loan players cost us big time.. Our squad was never at full fitness.. Only the regular players from Dyches time were anywhere near full fitness.. This should be different next term after this forced season.. If we had a different choice I think Zola would have taken it.. I dont blame him for tinkering.. Our players just weren’t fit….

  • “For me the lack of game time last season with the loan players cost us big time.”

    Absolutely – look at how many arrived injured or unfit or off the back of injury-plagued seasons.

  • Good points, but with the season upon us early August, is there time for sufficient rest plus, have a good preseason? The championship is a better league providing your winning but a trip to the Premiership, does give the club a chance of good finances.

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