Already many fans are counting down the number of games left to enjoy watching the likes of Joao Pedro wearing the yellow of Watford.

The mercurial Brazilian was linked with a move away from Watford last summer, and with another season in the Championship now looking almost guaranteed, the understandable assumption is that the club will cash in on Pedro, Ismaila Sarr, Imran Louza and others.

However, when I suggested to Ben Manga that the sale of the club’s main playing assets was almost a given, he was less convinced.

“No, because these players have a contract, and that is a fact,” he said.

“Of course, if we get an offer and a player wants to leave then we will sit down and have a discussion. We will evaluate everything.

“But right now we are planning for next season with these players in our vision.”

One thing Manga did want to make abundantly clear is that, on his watch, only players who really want to be at Watford will be allowed to stay.

“One thing that is important that I want to say is from next season, we will only keep players who want to stay here. I don’t like having players who are here physically but their head is somewhere else,” he said.

“It is very important that for next season the players that are here are players that want to be here.

“I only want players here who are determined to fight for the club. If a player wants to go, then we will have a discussion.”

Regardless of who comes and goes after the current season ends, the next key question is whether money that comes in will be given to Manga in order to buy new players.

“If we have money coming in during the transfer window, then for sure we will invest it and part of it will be in new players,” he said.

“This sort of approach is normal for me, and it’s important that I’m smart and ponder every decision to see how we can improve the team, as well as the rest of the club.”

Has he already started to line up potential replacements for different players who might depart?

“As part of my job, I always have to have ideas,” he replied.

“It’s what I referred to previously: having scouting in place. There is good scouting and bad scouting, but our record so far before we came to Watford suggests we have good scouting.

“Using an example from Frankfurt, we had to sell Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and Sebastien Haller. They were our three strikers that scored 70 goals between them in one season.

“We had to replace them, and we brought in Andre Silva, and people started saying that maybe Silva was not that good.

“Then Silva was sold to RB Leipzig and we had to replace him. We signed Rafael Borre, and people started saying he wasn’t good enough as well – but we went and won the Europa League.

“Still people were saying that Borre wasn’t good enough, even though we had signed him for free. But we went and signed Randal Kolo Muani, and now he’s in the team breaking all sorts of scoring records.

“We signed Kolo Muani for free too, and now he is being linked with Manchester United and Bayern Munich, and other big clubs, who are all willing to pay more than £100m for him.

“This is what good scouting does. If you have good scouting, you will be able to replace a player that leaves, whoever it is.”

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