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Watford complete loan signing of Granada and Algeria defender Essaid Belkalem
Watford have completed the loan signing of Essaid Belkalem from Granada with the Championship club having the option of making the move permanent.
Belkalem watched the Hornets' 6-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday after joining his new team-mates for the first time late last week.
The 24-year-old, who will wear number five, has since linked up with the Algeria national team, who play a home game against Guinea on Wednesday.
Udinese's sporting director Cristiano Giaretta confirmed the commanding centre half would be joining Watford at the end of July.
So it was expected that Belkalem would either sign for the Hornets permanently or he would join from Udinese on loan.
However, he has signed for Granada but Watford do have the option to sign the player permanently should he impress during his loan spell.
Belkalem was a free agent this summer after his contract with Algerian side JS Kabylie expired.
He has played 11 times for Algeria having previously represented his country’s Under-23 and Under-20 sides.
The 6ft 2in centre back missed the majority of 2011 through injury but played 22 league matches for JS Kabylie last season, scoring two goals in the process.
Physical and strong in the air, in 2009 Algerian football website DZfoot.com voted the then 20-year-old Belkalem as the third best young player in the Algerian Championnat National; describing him as "a solid defender – disciplined and reassuring".
Watford head coach Gianfranco Zola said the Hornets had beaten a number of "very important" European clubs to Belkalem's signature. You can read Zola's comments here.
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