Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores says Watford are in talks to extend Joel Ekstrand's contract as the defender’s current deal expires in the summer.

The Sweden international has spent the last ten months recovering from a knee ligament injury he sustained against Ipswich Town in March but returned to action on Thursday, playing 45 minutes for Watford’s Under-21 side.

However, with only six months left on his current contract Ekstrand is free to discuss terms with foreign clubs – Italian side Sampdoria have been linked - and could leave on a free transfer at the end of the campaign.

Flores has said on several occasions he wants to incorporate the 26-year-old back into his first-team squad when he has proved his fitness. The Spaniard wants Ekstrand to say at Vicarage Road.

“We are speaking with the sporting director and the owner about extending the contract of this player,” Flores said this morning when asked about Ekstrand. 

“I am happy he’s coming back because he is the kind of player I like.

"He is a serious professional who is very focused. He is technically good too. He is a very good player.”