A well-organised, counter-attacking unit, supreme man-management skills and coming close to saving a club doomed for top-flight relegation.

Much of Javi Gracia's history could be picked straight out of the Marco Silva copybook from when he arrived at Watford in late May with his reputation booming. Just swap Hull City for Osasuna, and performing wonders at Malaga rather than Estoril.

But rather than someone who will argue with the board in public over signings they don't want to sanction - see Islam Slimani for a prime example - Silva's successor will quickly assess his squad at London Colney and make the best with what he has.

British journalist turned La Liga expert Sid Lowe even called Watford's new appointment one of Spain's best coaches when he left the Rosaleda for Russia 18 months ago. That is praise indeed for a country which has brought us a World Cup title, a European Championships and six Champions League winners in the last decade.

As we presented in more detail here, Gracia took an asset-strapped side, starved of sold-off stars like Isco and Santi Cazorla, to two top-half finishes in La Liga in as many seasons, which drew him admirers across Spain.

He also succeeded with three of Spain's smaller clubs - with Cadiz and Pontevedra he won their third-tier group, and he took Almeira into La Liga too.

The similarities to Silva run deep - even in his favoured formation, a 4-2-3-1 with overlapping full-backs and built around breaking with pace (although he doesn't mind a 4-4-2 either).

Unlike his predecessor he is not averse to springing a tactical surprise, however, and famously altered his planned formation to face Barcelona when he was Malaga boss only an hour before kick-off, when he saw the opposition line-up.

It worked, and they earned a 0-0 draw against a side which won La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey that season.

But there have been issues which will seem all-too familiar to Watford in his 10-year managerial career as well. His last spell at Rubin Kazan was a painful one, dogged by his refusal to learn Russian throughout his year-long stay, which has echoes of Walter Mazzarri all over it.

He has to take some responsibility for their ninth-placed finish last season amid some heavy spending in the summer transfer window, but he’s also not the first coach to find difficulties in bringing together a new team who have largely never played together.

And the fact the players never took to him – Solomon Kverkveliya, now one of their star players has called him a ‘clown’ since he left – didn’t help either, after he ostracised a number of their key personalities in the dressing room.

Perhaps more pressing is that, like Silva, Gracia has a history of self-promotion. At Malaga, after another good result against Barcelona, he conducted a full briefing with the Spanish-based English media, in an aim to earn a name for himself in Britain and eventually a move to the Premier League.

Spanish football writer Kieran Canning told the Watford Observer: "He's always been very keen to talk himself up in the media. He has been trying to push himself forwards for jobs until now.

"The money in England was an attraction - and that's why he went to Russia too. And he did a full-on English media tour just after Malaga results against Barcelona."

That isn’t a tactic he should need to repeat with Watford, at least, where performances on the Premier League stage are broadcast to the furthest-flung corners of the world. But it is worth noting how familiar it feels to have a head coach angling for a better opportunity while still in a job.

Overall, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the chances of a clearly talented coach, who Watford have done well to attract given their current form.

But it would be wrong to pretend Gracia’s past has been an unmitigated success and, like most managers, it has not always been plain-sailing. Perhaps it will be at Vicarage Road.