First Team 08/08/2019

Official: Sarr Signs For Record Fee

Watford have completed a new club record transfer following the deadline day arrival of highly sought-after Senegal international Ismaïla Sarr.

The Hornets have beaten off strong competition to secure the services of the 21-year-old winger from Rennes, who has agreed a five-year contract with the Hornets.

Linked with a host of top-flight European clubs, Sarr is the latest addition to Javi Gracia’s squad ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, following the arrival of Danny Welbeck, Craig Dawson and Tom Dele-Bashiru.

A Coupe de France winner with Rennes and an AFCON runner-up for Senegal, the exciting attacker started out with Metz before earning a move to fellow Ligue 1 side Rennes in 2017. 

He played 77 times over two years at Roazhon Park, scoring 18 goals, including some eye-catching displays against Arsenal in the Europa League earlier this year.

The pacey forward has also made 18 appearances on the international stage for Senegal, appearing three times at the 2018 World Cup and then playing regularly throughout the Lions’ run to the AFCON 2019 final.

He will wear squad number 23 for the Hornets.

First Team 08/08/2019

Expert View: Watts On Welbeck

Charles Watts, Arsenal correspondent for, runs the rules over Watford’s new signing Danny Welbeck.

Danny Welbeck seemed to be a popular figure at Arsenal – how did the supporters react to news he was leaving at the end of last season?

He was a really, really popular player at Arsenal and it was such a shame. Everyone felt really gutted the way it ended for him. There was a feeling that it could’ve been worth giving him a new contract. Maybe it was a wise move to let him go and carry on his career elsewhere because at Arsenal you already have Lacazette and Aubameyang in his position, but personally I think it would’ve been worth keeping him and giving him a new deal.

What were his greatest strengths?

He provided an awful lot of versatility, he can play as a striker or wide on the left, and Arsenal really missed him when he got injured. It was a big blow because when he was fit he was a real asset. You won’t hear anyone say a bad word about him among the fans or the players. Behind-the-scenes he was really popular with the staff, he never stops smiling and he’s an infectious character so it’s impossible not to like him. He has a brilliant work-rate, he never ever stops running and he gives you everything. 

Where do you believe is his best position?

He can play up front but because of his work ethic and his running, when he plays over on the left I think he’s excellent. For me, his best performance for Arsenal was probably in the FA Cup final win against Chelsea. He played on the left and he was just brilliant. He ran Chelsea ragged, he got up and down the wing, his movement was great and he was pacey, and I do like him in that position. I think he offers you an awful lot there.

What were the highlights of his Arsenal career?

Other than the FA Cup final, it's probably the last-minute winner against Leicester in his first game back after being injured for a year. Arsenal were chasing Leicester at the top of the table at the time. It was an injury time winner and I think that’s up there as one of the greatest Arsenal moments since they moved to the Emirates. It’s up there with Arshavin’s goal against Barcelona. I was among the fans and I’ll never forget the celebrations. It was a brilliant moment and everyone at Arsenal will remember Danny Welbeck for that goal. There was also the goal up at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-final when he scored the winner on his first game back at Manchester United. That was another real special memory.

Welbeck says he spoke to other clubs in England and abroad, so why do you think he chose Watford?

We all knew he would have an awful lot of clubs to choose from given his experience. He was always going to have his pick of a lot of clubs across Europe and I think Watford is a great move for him. He doesn’t have to move, for a start, he can carry on with the same routine he’s had the last few years. It’s a really good move for him – Watford are a club that are going places and have a really good, strong squad which I think he’ll fit into well. It’s a really decent move for the player and for the club.