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Watford in contract talks with Troy Deeney and Britt Assombalonga
The Hornets are in talks with Troy Deeney about a new contract and are hopeful in-form youngster Britt Assombalonga will also be committing his future to the club shortly, the Watford Observer understands.
Deeney has been hugely influential for Watford this season; scoring ten goals in 20 appearances as his side climbed into the play-off spots.
The 24-year-old, who spent two-and-a-half months in prison last year for affray, is out of contract in the summer and his form has attracted interest from other clubs.
We understand Watford have now opened contract talks with Deeney and head coach Gianfranco Zola said: “I absolutely want him to stay. Troy is one of the important players for the team and we want to keep him.”
Fellow striker Assombalonga, who is on loan at Southend United, was back at Watford’s training ground this week, albeit temporarily, and is also in contract talks with the Hertfordshire club.
We understand the Hornets are confident Assombalonga will agree a new contract in the near future.
The 20-year-old, who was signed as a scholar after impressing on one of the club’s community trust courses, has scored 12 goals in 28 outings for League Two Southend United this season.
Zola said: “Britt is doing really well. We have been following him and he is doing the best when he is going out on loan.
“We have a great opinion of him. We are monitoring him and we hope he continues to do well.”
Assombalonga would become the fifth Academy graduate to commit his future to the club since the summer after Bernard Mensah this week joined Sean Murray, Connor Smith and Tommie Hoban in signing a new long-term contract.
On Wednesday night, Watford announced Mensah had signed a contract extension until 2016.
The second-year scholar, whose previous professional contract was due to expire in 2014, has scored 12 goals in 14 appearances for the Under-18s this season.
Zola said: “Bernard is like players such as Sean Murray and Connor Smith who have a bright future with us and that is the reason we have given him a new contract.”
Watford did miss out on one transfer target this week though.
Whilst the Hornets have not publicly confirmed the offer, we understand the club bid £2m for former Manchester United midfielder Robbie Brady at the end of last week.
However, Brady agreed a permanent move to Hull City where he had spent the majority of the last 18 months on loan from the Red Devils.
The Republic of Ireland international, 20, made 41 appearances last season, scoring three times, and spent the beginning of the 2012/13 campaign back at Old Trafford, where he made his solitary United outing as a substitute in the Carling Cup.
He has featured for Steve Bruce’s Hull 12 times since he rejoined in November, with his only league goal of the season coming at Vicarage Road a month ago.
The Hornets have also had to wait longer than expected to have a look at Zambian striker Evans Kangwa, who has been unable to join the club for a trial due to a delay in issuing his visa.
The 18-year-old, who is currently in an off-season break with his club Nkana, has been in line for a trial with the Hornets for a couple of months.
Nkana chairman John Chiwele told MTNFootball.com: “He is still earmarked to go for trials at Watford. But we have been waiting for his visa to be sorted out which is taking a while to be issued.”
Kangwa, who was leading scorer in the Zambian top flight last season, confirmed Watford are one of the clubs interested in him last month.
He was the golden boot winner at the COSAFA Under-20 Championship in Botswana in 2011 and has reportedly interested South African club Orlando Pirates and Dutch side Feyenoord in the past.
“It feels good to be invited by a big club like Watford to attend trials. It’s an honour for me,” Kangwa told the Lusaka Times last month.
“I am just waiting for travelling documents. I will be travelling next month,” he added.