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Watford boss Gianfranco Zola admits 16 summer signings is 'not ideal' and players will leave
Gianfranco Zola admits the high number of summer arrivals at Watford is “not ideal” and having 39 professionals at the club is “not normal” but he expects a number of players to leave the Hornets shortly.
Watford signed 16 players this summer following the Pozzos’ takeover of the club, with 12 coming from the family’s other clubs Udinese and Granada.
The Hornets made six signings last Friday on transfer deadline day and Zola admitted signing and selling players five games in to the season was unsettling – describing the transfer system as “crazy”.
Zola is Watford’s head coach and technical director Gian Luca Nani is in charge of recruiting players, with the Pozzos providing a large pool of players due to their large squad.
The Chelsea legend prefers not to discuss transfer dealings and leaves the detail to Nani.
Zola explained: “It works like every team in Europe does and also some of the biggest teams in this country. I work on the pitch, the club knows what type of football I want to play, the club knows what type of players I need to play my best football and the club provides me with a choice of different players. Then I choose them.
“With Udinese behind us it allows me to have instead of one choice in one position or two choices, to have four and five very high quality players to choose.
“So I think it is not a system that [just] Watford use, this is a system that the majority of big clubs in Europe use.
“So for me as, I have to look at so many things on the pitch and if the club can provide me with good quality players, that we can play the kind of football I want to play, then I’m happy.”
When asked whether he wanted to sign all 16 players, Zola replied: “I don’t mind having good quality players, obviously when there are many it might be a problem but we will be able to sort it out.
“I think it is better to have some extra players than to not have enough players.”
He added: “It is not ideal but we have to do the best we can to make the club successful.”
The 16 summer arrivals has increased the squad to 39 professionals – 42 if you include the trio out on loan at other clubs – and Zola accepts players will need to leave.
He said: “I think 39 players is a big number, very big, and I’m the type of manager who likes to give attention to the players so obviously we will have to find a solution.
“There will be some players who will be going but I believe it will also be for their own good because they can not stay here training and not playing. So, yes, there will be players that will have the choice to go.
“We will see. We are looking at the situation. We know it is not normal and we will try to do the best for the players and for the club.”
The loan window reopens today (Friday) and several Watford players will leave in the coming weeks.
Last Friday saw the departure of Martin Taylor but that day the club also announced the arrival of Udinese defenders Joel Ekstrand and Neuton Piccoli and Chelsea youngster Nathaniel Chalobah, who can all play at centre-back. Fitz Hall is also expected to be fit in the next couple of weeks.
Watford had been linked with Neuton and Ekstrand for a couple of weeks and when asked if the pair had been lined up before Taylor’s departure on Friday, Zola replied: “Whether they were lined up, I don’t know. There was a possibility but it wasn’t there because otherwise they would have come earlier I believe.”
Zola added: “The players who have come to take Taylor’s spot are not going to be Martin Taylor, but maybe they can be good for the team.
“So we are doing our best to make them settle well and make sure they can perform well for us.”