Watford have been priced out of a move for young Lazio winger Keita.

The Hornets have been rebuffed in efforts to sign the talented 21-year-old player, with Lazio seeking a price far higher than Hornets owner Gino Pozzo is willing to pay, despite being a strong admirer of the flying forward.

Keita has been in fine form for The Eagles this season, with five goals from only 11 starts in Serie A.

A graduate of Barcelona’s youth academy, he moved to the Italian side as a 16-year-old in 2011, turning down interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid at the time.

Keita made his first-team debut in September 2013, and has since scored 20 goals in 118 games for the club.

Had the Hornets managed to complete the signing of the Senegal international, they would have been without his services for at least the majority of January, as he will travel to the African Cup of Nations with his country next week.

Watford are also on the look-out for a creative midfielder to provide more forward thinking in the middle of the park.

Both Etienne Capoue and Adlene Guedioura have been given the task of providing that deep-lying playmaker role at different times during the campaign.

But despite the former’s five-goal tally, neither has been able to cut defences apart with their passing, which is something head coach Walter Mazzarri is keen to rectify by the end of the transfer window.

Any potential signing would be more of an out-and-out central midfielder than the number 10 role Roberto Pereyra has been generally used in since his summer move from Juventus.

The Hornets are not believed to be close to a deal to bring such a player into the club yet.

They are, however, keen to move quickly as they look to increase their attacking threat which has seen them score just six goals in their last eight games.