The Watford Observer can reveal with confidence it understands the fee received from Udinese for fans’ favourite Gerard Deulofeu was €12m.

The winger, who will forever be remembered for his wonder goal in the FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves, moved to Italy on a season-long loan when the Hornets were relegated in 2020 before making the move permanent last summer.

During my interview with chairman Scott Duxbury, I raised the question of the obvious family links between the Hornets and the Italian club, and that there was a fear amongst fans that any player movement between the two was only on paper and not reflected in the bank. Worse still, there was a feeling that Watford often got the thin end of the wedge.

“There is always a fee. Everything has to be done at arms length, and all the numbers have to be audited. That is particularly the case on the Italian side of things. The deal has to be done at the true market value and the money has to be paid,” he explained.

“The two clubs operate at a distance. Can we use the connection to our advantage? Yes, absolutely. If a player wants to leave Watford but is interested in playing in Italy, then there is the chance they can join Udinese. If we have a player we truly believe in who wants to leave – because of relegation or whatever – then we can sell them to Udinese for a market-value fee and the player stays within the group. Then we have the potential to get the player back in the future.

“When Gerard Deulofeu was transferred to Udinese, the fee had to be independently audited in Italy, with confirmation that the value of the player fell within the range of market expectation at that time. He was injured, he didn’t want to stay and we got a price at the top end of the market range at the time, and Watford received the money.

“When we loan players to Udinese – Ignacio Pussetto for instance – they pay the wages, in full. He didn’t want to stay here, but he did want to go to Italy. He remains a Watford player, and he’s playing in Serie A. If he does well, then we could sell him and Watford take the fee. We always use the relationship to Watford’s advantage.

“Why would we do any transaction that was detrimental to Watford? We just wouldn’t. We use the relationship with Udinese in a mutually beneficial way.

“A perfect example is Samir. He was in the last year of his contract at Udinese and didn’t want to stay. We wanted a top-level left-footed central defender. So we suggest the idea of him joining Watford, he agrees and we sign him on a free transfer.”