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Watford will try to sign a striker and extend the loan of West Bromwich Albion's George Thorne in January
The Hornets will attempt to sign a new striker and a holding midfielder in the January transfer window, the Watford Observer understands.
We understand an additional striker and ensuring the holding midfield role is filled are the two main priorities for Watford when the January transfer window opens.
West Bromwich Albion’s defensive midfielder George Thorne has impressed the Golden Boys’ coaching staff since his arrival last month but his current deal runs out on January 2.
The Hornets will hope their good relationship with West Brom, who are managed by Gianfranco Zola’s good friend Steve Clarke, could help in their quest to retain the midfielder for the remainder of the season.
Zola said: “We hope we can keep George [for the rest of the season]. He is a player we like and he suits us. I understand that it is not only our decision. But the boy is happy to stay here as far as I know so I’m sure we will try to do the best we can to keep him, considering the relationship we have with West Brom.”
If the Baggies decide to keep Thorne at The Hawthorns for the remainder of this season, then Watford will be sure to cast an eye over to West London, with Chelsea starlet Nathaniel Chalobah’s loan spell at Nottingham Forest due to expire on January 15.
Chalobah was a key component of the Hornets' successful 2012/13 campaign but the England Under-21 international has only made five starts and two substitute appearances for Forest since he joined in mid-September.
The 19-year-old’s performances at Watford helped him earn a new contract at Chelsea but while the Hornets were keen to re-sign the player this season, they were – and are still not – willing to pay all or the majority of his new salary, which is reportedly £35,000 a week.
Zola has previously said the Blues youngster wanted to return to Vicarage Road and we understand the Golden Boys would be interested in signing Chalobah on loan if Forest or Chelsea do not want to extend their agreement beyond January.
Chalobah’s absence has been noticeable at times but the departures of Jonathan Hogg and John Eustace have arguably been more important, with Zola accepting his team have lacked an ‘enforcer’ for much of this season.
“Yes it is true,” Zola replied. “Of course people like John (Eustace) and Jonathan (Hogg) are people who have been very influential. We are missing players like them. But don’t forget that we are also missing Almen Abdi who has been one of our key players.
“We brought in a player like George Thorne as that gives the midfield that physicality we required.
“In my [ideal] midfield, they are not all three technical players. Normally there are two technical players and one more physical one. Sometimes we have had to play differently due to the circumstances because of players like Abdi missing.
“Yes we are addressing that [lack of enforcer] and we are trying to sort it out. George Thorne has already given something in that sense.”
Up front, Zola admits Watford need to be more ruthless but he was non-committal when asked whether the club would be targeting a new striker in January.
He said: “I have to work with what we have got and we all have to try our best. Of course the club may believe we need to try to make the team better with other players, it is not all down to me. I am trying to do my best to make this team improve.”
Technical director Gian Luca Nani added: “It is not just about the strikers.
“In the last two games we have played with a different system, with one striker, and it is about the balance of the team. The manager has to decide which system his team will play and what kind of player he needs for that system because it is different if you play 3-5-2, 4-3-3 or 4-5-1.
“If we believe – all together – that we need to reinforce the team in a certain position and we find the right person then for sure we will try to provide the manager and team with the best [players] we can.”
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