Marco Silva plays down Watford signing four English players this summer

11 August 2017 01:38

Marco Silva has denied Watford are specifically targeting English players despite a significant change in the profile of their squad.

The club-record signing of the £18.5million Andre Gray from Burnley on Wednesday takes the Hornets' number of new English players this summer to four.

Before Gray, Will Hughes, Nathaniel Chalobah and Tom Cleverley joined the club permanently, and fellow new signing and Austrian goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann counts as home-grown under Premier League rules following his spell at Stoke.

Press Association Sport also understands that both Everton winger Aaron Lennon and Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs remain transfer targets, meaning that by the conclusion of the transfer window English players could account for five or more of their starting XI.

In the modern-day, cosmopolitan Premier League that would be increasingly uncommon. It would also represent a shift from Silva's impressive recruitment at Hull, regardless of his demand his squad speaks English, and from that of the Pozzo family during their time as Watford's owners.

But Silva remains adamant that nationality is only a bonus.

His team on Saturday host Liverpool in his first competitive game as manager, and he said: "When we look for a player, the first thing we look at is not his nationality, it's not because he's English or not English.

"We look at what we need in our roster, the positions we need, and after the quality of the player. Of course if you have the capacity to sign new English or British players, why wouldn't you? These players don't need a lot of time to adapt.

"But the first point I look at is not whether he's British. The first is the capacity of the player, the value of the player, the quality of the player.

"Some of the young boys come with big motivation, which is important for our club."

Gray is expected to make his Watford debut against Liverpool, with doubts persisting around Troy Deeney's fitness following recent surgery to his groin.

Craig Cathcart (knee) and Christian Kabasele (hamstring) are also absent while Chalobah and fellow new signing Richarlison are among those expected to start.

"The market at this moment is really crazy (regardless of nationality)," added Silva. "The values of the players, it's easy to find the right solutions but not easy to achieve these solutions."

Source: PA