When Emmanuel Dennis, Ismaila Sarr and Cucho Hernandez fired Watford to a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa at the beginning of the season, few would have predicted that only one more league victory would come at Vicarage Road between then and where they sit now, with just the final five matches of the season left to play.

Yet an excruciating run of home form has left the Hornets on the verge of relegation and with two of the stars of that opening day display now expected to move on in the summer to help pay for next season’s promotion push.

Sources close to Dennis have told the Watford Observer they are now expecting him to be sold this summer, with the Hornets looking to make a significant return on their £3million investment.

The Nigerian has scored ten goals and provided six assists, not a bad return on a player who was considered something of a gamble when he was signed, and those performances have attracted interest from across Europe.

Villarreal are understood to be monitoring the situation, as are West Ham United, while the player’s representatives have also spoken to clubs in Italy and Germany.

It is expected that Watford will demand a fee north of the £20m mark for any would-be suitors, with a small percentage of that fee heading to Club Brugge.

There is a relegation clause in Dennis’ contract that would see his salary reduced in the Championship, so should no one come forward with an offer at the end of the season, keeping hold of him would not be prohibitively expensive, as it was for the likes of Etienne Capoue, Troy Deeney and others the last time the club went down.

However, with clubs already making contact with his representatives, it is unlikely that would be the case.

With Sarr, things are less clear.

For one, the club will want to at least recoup the £30m they spent on him, if not make a profit on it, but a season of indifference and injury could mean that those considering a move may now be cooling their interest, particularly given the pricetag.

Newcastle United showed credible interest earlier this season, while Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Liverpool have all thrown their hat into the ring during his time at Vicarage Road as well. Whether or not any of those clubs, or another elsewhere, has seen enough from the player to be convinced remains to be seen.

It could be up to him to earn his move away in the remaining five fixtures.

In addition to Dennis and Sarr, this season’s captain Moussa Sissoko is also expected to depart at the end of the campaign, with Lyon interested in taking the midfielder back to his home nation.

At 32 years old, a chance to play top flight football in France, as well as European football, may well appeal.

The trio highlighted will not be the only outgoing players this summer, as the club once again find themselves planning a big rebuild.

Be it in the Championship, or in the Premier League via a miracle, getting recruitment right will be a huge part of making sure next season is not as chaotic as the one that is just about to finish.