First Team 08/08/2019

Team News: Brighton

By Kevin Affleck

Gerard Deulofeu is fit and raring to go for the season opener against Brighton & Hove Albion, says Javi Gracia.

The Spaniard, who won the Goal of the Season and Individual Performance of the Season awards last season, has not been seen in action since the first half of the game against Bayer Leverkusen in Austria, but he has recovered from a muscle problem and is ready to face the Seagulls at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

"He is perfect," said Gracia. "He had a little problem and it was two weeks ago. He's had time to recover and has been able to train with the team from the beginning of the week. He's ready."

Roberto Pereyra is also in the mix to play some part after being eased back in after an extended summer break. Gracia and his medical staff have been keen to manage the playmaker's load after he spent most of the summer training with Argentina for their Copa America campaign.

"Roberto was ready from the beginning but he needed time as he came late," said the Head Coach. "He is ready but he just needs time because this is only his second week of pre-season. He's not in his best physical condition but he can still help the team by playing some minutes."

Unavailable to the Head Coach this week are Nathaniel Chalobah, Adalberto Peñaranda, Domingos Quina and Dimitri Foulquier. 

"Foulquier has a problem in his calf because he picked up a knock," said Gracia. "Peñaranda is training but not with the team. Domingos has a muscle problem and Chalo needs some time to recover after the work he has done in pre-season. Next week they will be ready."

New signing Danny Welbeck will not play any part as his return to action is being carefully planned by the medical team as he works his way back from a long injury.

"He is in good condition and maybe if you ask me next week, I can tell you something more," said Gracia.

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.