Events surrounding Watford FC have been encapsulating during the summer break as Giampaolo Pozzo’s takeover of the club kicks off. Having already fired one manager in Sean Dyche and replaced him with compatriot Gianfranco Zola it looks to be the beginning of a busy summer at Vicarage Road.
As the Italian businessman’s latest development roars into life another of Pozzo’s ventures, Granada CF, ponder the implications of the magnate’s actions and how it can work to their advantage.
Watford are the third football club to be bought by Pozzo and his family behind Udinese and Granada themselves. If the Hornets are to be exploited in the same way then expect close ties to form between all three clubs with player borrowing aplenty. In this summer transfer window no less than six Udinese players have been loaned to Granada for the upcoming season!
The partnership between the two clubs has had a phenomenal impact on Granada since it began in 2009 as the club achieved two promotions to the top tier of Spanish football once again. Heavily expected to go straight back down last season Granada survived by the skin of their teeth as Villarreal plummeted instead, and the odds will be stacked against them again this year.
Their squad consisted mainly of Udinese loanees and other players snapped up on short term deals and looks set to once again with 12 new players joining already! Of those players €5million striker Youssef El-Arabi could hold the key to another season of survival for Granada.
Goalscoring was a major issue for the club last season as they finished with the second worst tally behind relegated Racing. Just 35 league goals were scored, predominantly from either the penalty spot or an Udinese loanee! The 25 year old El-Arabi scored 17 goals in 23 games for Al-Hilal last season and could be just what the club needs.
We’ve clarified the tepid strike force which contributed to the close shave last season but the defense can hardly take credit for the club’s escape. Granada lost an astonishing 20 games last year and about the only reason they survived was due to the games that they did win, picking up crucial victories against Zaragoza and Villarreal.
Allan Nyom has signed on for another season from Udinese and should look more assured at left-back whilst Pape Diakhate can build on his first season in Andalucia. But Granada will need greater reinforcements at the back to stand any chance of competing next season.
One player to keep an eye on is Romanian youngster Gabriel Torje from (guess) Udinese. The striker is reportedly being chased by Arsenal and could enjoy a decent campaign if he and El-Arabi get a consistent run in the team.
Changing the philosophy and becoming a more attacking side is vital having lacked the ambition to trouble opposing teams. New manager Juan Antonio Anquela should realise this but having to deal with the input of Pozzo’s battalion from Udinese, he could be the third manager Granada have sacked in two years.
Whatever happens, his sacking is almost inevitable as Granada will be struggling for long periods of the season, trying desperately to keep their heads above water. The club surprised us and Villarreal last year but their fun in the Andalucian sun can’t continue for another season can it?
La Liga: 17th
Copa del Rey: Round of 32 (lost to Real Sociedad 5-3 on agg)
Borja Gomez €0.8m from Karpaty Lviv
Juanma Ortiz free from Rangers
Brayan Angulo free from Atletico Baleares
Youssef El-Arabi €5m from Al-Hilal
Iriney free from Betis
Tono free from Racing Santander
Darwin Machis, Dani Benitez, Diego Mainz, Floro Flores, Gabriel Torje & Allan Nyom all loan from Udinese
Yohan Mollo €2m to Nancy
Hector Yuste loan to Racing Santander
Abel Gomez free to Cordoba
Ikechi Anya loan to Watford
One to Watch: Gabriel Torje