Cristian Battocchio is in contention for tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) match with Bournemouth despite his agent claiming the midfielder is on the verge of leaving the club on loan.
And it seems highly unlikely that a potential deal for Fulham’s Derek Boateng will be complete in time for the Ghana international to feature on the south coast.
Watford have allowed four players to leave the club either on loan or permanently in the last week and Battocchio looks set to become the fifth.
The midfielder has been linked with a return to Italy in the past week and on Wednesday his agent claimed the 21-year-old was bound for Serie B strugglers Padova.
Claudio Vagheggi was quoted by Padovasport.tv as saying Battocchio would be joining Padova in “a matter of days”.
The deal has not been officially formalised but his agent claims Battocchio has rejected other clubs in favour of joining the Serie B strugglers.
Earlier in the week, Sannino claimed he was “deaf” to the reports Battocchio is leaving and this afternoon insisted the player is in contention to face Bournemouth on Saturday.
Sannino said: “He has been training, I am happy with him and as long as the players are here, then they are in consideration for selection.”
Battocchio has been in the 18-man match-day squad for all of the Hornets’ games this season except for one and three-quarters of Watford Observer readers said they did not want Battocchio to leave the club on loan, as part of an online ballot.
The Argentine-born midfielder has made 11 starts and nine substitute appearances this season, being an unused sub on eight occasions.
However, the Italy Under-21 international has been behind Lewis McGugan and Sean Murray in the pecking order for most of this season and last season’s Watford Observer Player of the Year, Almen Abdi, returned to action in midweek after missing most of the current campaign through injury.
The club also have the option of playing new signing Alexander Merkel further forward once he returns from suspension, with the club planning to sign another holding midfielder.
That man looked likely to be Fulham midfielder Boateng earlier this week.
The 30-year-old has held talks with Watford about a loan move until the end of the season and he says the Golden Boys have assured him of regular game time as he tries to earn a place in Ghana’s World Cup squad.
Boateng told Football411.com: “I was saddened with his (Martin Jol’s) departure [from Fulham] and that was when I realised that I have to move on in search of more playing time, and I have been assured of that at Watford so that is what I want to do.”
He added: “Most of the Ghanaian players are moving from one club to the other to get enough playing time to cement a place in the World Cup squad and I am no exception. I want to go to the World Cup and I cannot do that by warming the bench at Fulham.”
However, Boateng has yet to link up with the squad and Sannino joked: “I have never seen him; I have never met him. If he came here, then I would shake his hand and introduce myself.”
Sannino explained: “You know how Watford is structured; I am focused on the football side and there is a technical director (Gian Luca Nani) who looks at the transfer market.
“Imagine if I was involved with the transfer side; I would use all my energy on it, so I am always looking at the players who are training for me and we have a game on Saturday that I am focused on.”
Boateng has spent the last 14 years playing in Europe, having started his career at Kalamata in Greece as a 16-year-old. Fulham were Boateng’s tenth club, with Panathinaikos, FC Koln, Getafe and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk among his old sides.
Boateng is a powerful, ball-winning midfielder who has more than 45 caps for Ghana and has been a member of their squad for both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
However, he has made just four starts and one substitute appearance for the Craven Cottage side since joining on a free transfer in the summer.
Watford have seen three players leave the club on loan in the last week and another depart permanently.
Javier Acuna’s loan move to La Liga club Osasuna was confirmed on Saturday morning, Uche Ikpeazu has joined League 1 Crewe Alexandra until the end of the season and fellow first-year professional Bernard Mensah has linked up with Conference side Braintree Town until February 16.
The Hornets also allowed Adam Thompson to join Southend United on a free transfer on Thursday of last week.