For Watford supporters who have felt the club has been too closely associated with certain agents, and often signed players of dubious quality, then one sentence from my 90-minute conversation with Technical Director Ben Manga will be music to their ears.

“If someone ever told me I had to go through this agent and do this or that,” he said, “then I will collect my things, clear my desk and go back to Germany.”

When Manga says things are going to be different at Watford with his hand on the rudder of all ‘sporting areas’ of the club, he clearly means it.

He was unequivocal in his view on how the club might use agents in the future, and that those they do use will be of his choosing.

He also made it clear that using agents is virtually impossible to avoid, but he insists that it will be done on Watford’s terms, and not anybody else’s.

As far as Manga is concerned, player recruitment will be scouting-led.

“We have a very good scouting department, which is a combination of people that were here before I arrived and others that I brought with me from Frankfurt,” he explained.

“Now the scouting department is bigger it is one of the things that will change. I want to listen to the scouts more.

“If an agent calls me about a player, I have to keep in mind whether he is calling me because he wants to help us or if he just wants more money for himself.

“If we have a scout that watches a player I know it is one of our people who saw him, and that is trying to do good for us and not for an agent.

“Of course I will still speak with agents and there are agents that will help us. But we are going to change a few things here because we want to give a strong opinion to the scout. They travel, they watch, they look, they call me. When they say this player is good for us, we trust our scout.”

Watford have been one of the Championship’s top spenders when it comes to fees paid to agents. That, says Manga, will be changing too.

“We don’t want to spend as much with agents as we did before,” he said.

“Of course, agents will still get money but it will be for the players we want, not ones that came from outside.

“I’m a person that likes to be clear and honest. I’m not closing any doors to any agents, but this is only in case if the agent can help us.

“The number one important thing for me has always been the scouting. At Hoffenheim, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, where I worked before, we focussed on the scouting.

“I’m not stupid. There will be agents who can help us. But it will be because we called the agent, not because he came to us.

“If an agent has a good relationship with a club owner, he might be able to get a player for a lower price than if we make that call. That’s fine.

“But we will not generally be calling agents to help us. We have a scouting network. If an agent, who is a good agent, can help us push the price down then we will work with him.”

No names were mentioned, but there was a knowing smile on Manga’s face when I asked if he had been told of the need to work with any specific agents.

“I am under absolutely no pressure to work with any agent. Nobody has told me that I have to go through this agent or this agent.

“I have my way of working and that is to use scouting. If someone ever told me I had to go through this agent and do this or that, then I will collect my things, clear my desk and go back to Germany.

“I don’t even know the figures we have spent with agents. What has happened before is nothing to do with me and is part of the past.

“What I can say is that I had meetings with the owner before I came here, and this is now going to be a new way of working.

“We want to change a few things, I am completely on board with all of that.”

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