Watford were ready and planned ahead of defender deals

Watford were not told earlier in the summer that either Samir or Kiko Femenia wanted to leave the club, and in the case of the Brazilian the potential transfer was actually precipitated by head coach Rob Edwards.

There were feelings outside Vicarage Road that the club had known since the end of the season that both players wanted to leave, but dithered in finding replacements.

Femenia completed a move to Villareal this week, and posted a touching goodbye message to Watford fans on his social media channels.

“Kiko has very personal reasons for wanting to be living back in Spain, which I won’t go into,” said chairman Scott Duxbury.

“We very much hoped that they would be resolved, and we supported him through the summer.

“We did everything we could to work with him to find a solution, and Kiko wanted to work with us as well. He wanted to try and find a solution that allowed him to continue playing for Watford.

“But sadly it reached a point where we all felt it wasn’t possible.

“At any point in time, we always have a list of alternatives for each position that Rob has identified. We would never wait and then play catch up.

“We did everything within our powers to find a way of enabling Kiko to stay, but when it became obvious we couldn’t make it work we continued to support him in his move while we acted quickly and efficiently to sign Mario Gaspar.”

Samir featured in the team in the earlier pre-season friendlies, but wasn’t even on the bench for Saturday’s game with Southampton.

Stories appeared about a move to Italy, and also suggested the defender had told Watford of his desire to leave at the start of the summer.

“No, the sale of Samir, if it happens, will be an evolution made by Rob,” said Duxbury.

“He spent pre-season looking at what players he had in training and in friendlies, and when certain other options became available in terms of players Rob wants – and we received offers for Samir – the decision was made that it would be a prudent move to make The so-called ‘rule of 11’ is also at the forefront of our minds.”

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