First Team 10/08/2017

Giraldi | “The Best Step For Him”

By Kevin Affleck

Technical Director Filippo Giraldi says Watford are "really happy" to secure the services of long-time target Richarlison after fighting off the attention of "two big clubs" to land the exciting young forward.

The club were delighted to announce on Tuesday that the Brazilian had penned a five-year contract at Vicarage Road after the 20-year-old was granted a work permit by the Home Office.

No Under-21 player scored more goals than Richarlison in Brazil's top-flight last season and Giraldi says the club were thrilled to get the deal over the line.

"We are very pleased," said Giraldi. "It's not been easy as there were two very big clubs around him. It's then never easy to convince the player that our project is the best step for him.

"He had two very concrete, very strong offers from other big clubs but the fact we have Marco here as Head Coach has helped. The coach can speak to him in Portuguese and that was very helpful."

Silva will be able to now call on a player who will be able to play anywhere across the front line. 

"He's a player that can play on the left, on the right and in a central position," he explained.

"He's very versatile, has very good technique and his finishing is good. He's got good pace, so he has all the important characteristics to play in England. Physically, he is a player that is ready."

Richarlison in action for Brazil's Under-20s

Watford have always recruited from far and wide with one eye on the future but, along with Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes, Richarlison has been signed very much for the here and now. 

"He is still a young player with a lot of development ahead of him but he's definitely a player for now," says Giraldi.

"We expect him to go straight into contention. South American players always take time to adapt to the culture. He might need a month, two months or six months and we will give him the time he needs. But there is no doubt about his quality and we have very high expectations for him. He is a very, very good person also."

Giraldi has previously told us how the deployment of the club's vast scouting network is "like a spy story". Watford's South American "spy" has been hugely influential in firstly tracking Richarlison and then endorsing the move for the former Fluminense man.

"He was one of our main targets for a long time," says Giraldi.

"We saw him a long time ago when he was around the Under-20 national team. Our scout in South American always had him on his list and kept telling us how much he had improved this year. He's been the strongest name on our list since November and it's a deal we've been working on for a long time. We are really happy." 

Giraldi says the signings of Andre Gray, Hughes and Chalobah mean the club is now "looked at differently", a place for young English talent to come and seek regular football. Yet, says the Technical Director, they will continue to plunder alternative markets like the South American one and mine young talents like Adalberto Penaranda and Richarlison. 

"We like the South American market," says Giraldi. "You can find value in the market there. It's a very, very good zone for us and where we are Identifying targets all the time. It's getting harder to keep them a secret, though."

First Team 09/08/2017

Official | Gray Signs For Record Fee

Watford FC is delighted to announce the signing of striker Andre Gray for a club record transfer fee.

The 26-year-old moves to Vicarage Road from fellow Premier League side Burnley on a five-year deal.

Gray found the net 33 times during two seasons with the Clarets, including nine goals in 26 top-flight starts during 2016/17.

The pacey centre-forward arrived at Turf Moor in 2015 following a £9m move from Brentford, where he had scored 20 goals in 52 games.

After making his professional debut for Shrewsbury Town in 2009, Gray enjoyed prolific spells in non-league with Hinckley United and Luton Town before switching to Griffin Park in 2014.