Reports suggest that freshly-installed Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren has set his sights on Watford striker Troy Deeney as the man to score the goals that will guide them away from relegation danger and into the top half of the table.
The Daily Mail have reported that the Magpies are preparing a bid for the Birmingham-born forward.
Newcastle have already been linked with relegated QPR frontman, Charlie Austin, and 26-year-old Deeney is a player of similar stock. Considered by many to be the best striker outside the Premier League, he captained his team to automatic promotion last season; becoming the first player in Watford’s history to score 20+ goals in three successive seasons in the process.
Deeney has been a wanted man for a while. Last summer Watford’s owner, Gino Pozzo, reportedly rejected offers in excess of ten million for his talismanic forward; deciding his value to the team outweighed any possible fee after witnessing his goalscoring display in a 3-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on the opening day of the season.
Since then, Deeney’s value could be seen to have risen; driving his team to promotion after agreeing an improved four-year contract last August.
Watford want Deeney to stay
It’s not entirely clear that fans of either club would be enamoured with this deal, however. For Watford fans, Deeney is a talisman and a symbol of their club; the man who has been with them for the majority of his career and played a huge role in leading them to the promised land of the Premier League.
They would be loathed to see their goalscoring-hero depart Vicarage Road just as he has earned his chance to impress in the top division.
Furthermore, the Pozzo’s plans for Watford involve establishing the club firmly in the top flight, and selling their star striker before a ball has been kicked in anger does not seem like the kind of move that a team in need of stability and leadership, far more than financial capital, would make lightly.
Newcastle fans want better
In turn, many Newcastle fans have taken to social media to react to the speculation with disappointment, indicating that they would prefer owner Mike Ashley’s investment take the form of a higher-profile striker; one that is already a proven success at this level.
Many observers of the Championship believe that Deeney will comfortably make the step up to meet the increased demands of the Premier League; his attributes comparing favourably to last season’s debutants like Danny Ings, Leonardo Ulloa and Charlie Austin.
He has, however, spent his entire career to date in the football league, and he could not yet be said to represent a safe bet when it comes to scoring the goals that Newcastle desperately need to ignite the first season under their new head coach and avoid another season of despair and disillusionment for the St James’ Park faithful.
Overally, it seems unlikely that these rumours will lead to any actual movement, but Watford fans will be the first to tell you that if we can be sure of one thing, it is that if Deeney is sold, it will be for his highest possible value, and as the result of a decision made for the benefit of the club as whole.
For now, they’ll be betting on seeing their captain leading the Hornets out for their first Premier League match in 8 years at Goodison Park on August 8.