Captain leaves the club  (©GettyImages)
Captain leaves the club (©GettyImages).

Manuel Almunia among seven players to be released by Watford

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Manuel Almunia is set to be released by Watford along with six other first-team players, talkSPORT reports.

The news comes as no surprise to Hornet fans, who will be somewhat relieved at the news as the club looks to trim its massive squad.

Last year's captain and play off hero Alumnia will be the one most missed. The gap left by his departure could well be filled by youngster Jonathon Bond, but he has competition in former Tottenham man Heurelho Gomes who has joined on a free transfer.

Almunia's experience at the back proved to be a key aspect of the success during Gianfranco Zola's tenure at Vicarage Road. Although no official announcement has come out, it is widely expected that he will signal his intention to retire upon leaving Watford. His penalty save against Leicester in last season's dramatic play-off semi-final ensures that Alumnia will be a name long remembered at Watford.

The other six players announced as also leaving were all somewhat expected. Marco Cassetti and Nyron Nosworthy are both well past their best as age takes its toll. Ross Jenkins - who once promised so much - never managed to live up to the success of his namesake and old Watford legend, although he will likely find another club in the lower divisions.

Lucas Neill, Fitz Hall and Albert Riera complete the seven leaving the Hertfordshire club. The signs coming out of the club are that the older, more experienced players are going to be let go, making way for some of the younger talented players in the squad.

The likes of Tommy Hoban - who finished the season with a string of classy displays at the back - will hope to capitalise as three centre-backs leave the club.

Even with the seven players leaving, Watford still have a sizeable squad at their disposal. A few careful additions aided by the odd loan signing will give the Hornets every chance of finishing in the playoffs next season.

The early signs suggest they will be using their younger players more and given the talent lurking in their reserves, it could be an exciting season to be a Watford fan in 2014/15.

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