Alexander Merkel's move to the Hornets is a loan deal with Udinese team-mate Mathias Ranegie joining the club permanently, the Watford Observer understands.

The pair's arrival was all but confirmed when Merkel and Ranegie were both seen watching Watford's 0-0 draw with Queens Park Rangers on December 29 from the directors box.

Merkel then posted a picture of him signing his contract on micro-blogging site Twitter on New Year's Eve.

It was initially unclear whether the duo would be joining permanently or on temporary deals from fellow Pozzo-owned side Udinese.

But the Watford Observer understands Merkel will be joining on loan until the summer and Ranegie will sign permanently.

Merkel signed for Udinese in January last year but only made six outings last season and has yet to feature during the current campaign – although he has been an unused substitute on several occasions.

The 21-year-old joined AC Milan from Stuttgart as a teenager and made his debut at the age of 18, featuring ten times during the 2010/11 season.

Genoa bought 50 per cent of the player in 2011 and he made 16 appearances for the Serie A club before he rejoined Milan on loan.

However, he only made one outing before he had a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Merkel played for Genoa six times in the first half of last season before he signed for Udinese in January.

Merkel is Kazakhstan-born but has represented Germany throughout the youth age groups up until the Under-20s level.

Ranegie is a striker who is 6ft 5’ tall and has represented Sweden on three occasions in the past.

The 29-year-old has made four appearances for Udinese this campaign and played 26 times last season, scoring one goal.

He was a latecomer to professional football and, after a largely unsuccessful spell at IFK Göteborg, made a name for himself at BK Häcken, where he scored 36 goals in 81 appearances.

Malmo signed him in 2011 and 13 goals in 26 games persuaded Udinese to sign the player in August last summer.