Tom Cleverley is insistent that player recruitment and decisions on who to sell and release will be made based upon his plans for next season, and the way he wants to play.

There have been question marks throughout the last decade or so around how much the voice of the Watford head coach has been heard when it comes to decisions on players.

While the head coach may not be the individual who makes the final decision, there has often been doubt as to whether how he wants to play, the shape he wants to use or the profile of individual positions have been considered sufficiently.

A perfect example only a couple of years ago was when Rob Edwards found the replacement for the fleet-footed, attack-minded wing-back Kiko Femenia was the more pedestrian, defensive old-school full-back Mario Gaspar.

Cleverley, though, is convinced the squad for the 24/25 season will be tailored to his needs.

“I’m 100% sure of that,” he said.

“I’m having daily conversations in my office with Gianluca Nani, and we’re certainly recruiting to my system and my profile of player.

“Will that then lead to players selected by collaboration among a number of people at the club, including me? Yes it will, but the players we are looking at are solely based on how I see us playing as a team.

“There have been a lot of conversations about what that looks like, and how we get it right.

“I’m really enjoying the process and being so involved in it.

“It’s exciting to be building and assembling a squad, as well as having conversations about who stays and who doesn’t.

“But the main thing is I am totally involved in the process and 100% convinced that the club will stick by what we’re doing.”

The head coach stopped short, at this stage, of outlining where on the pitch he feels he needs to recruit.

“I think it would be unfair to talk in detail about what areas of the pitch we’re looking to recruit in because you can really only talk about that once you know who is staying and going, and then build around that,” said Cleverley.

“We have a shortlist of targets for every position, and the reason for that is you don’t know if someone is going to come in with unreal bids for our players.

“If you get a bid that is too attractive to turn down, then you have to be ready and able to replace that player.

“We look at data on where we need to improve as a team and sometimes that highlights certain things to you, but I’m more one to look at why is something not working as a team.

“Why is our centre forward not having as good-quality chances as our opponents, rather than just going immediately ‘we need a centre forward’.

“We’ve not had a player in the top ten goalscorers for a few seasons now, and what is it about the team dynamic that is making that happen?

“I’m super clear with how I want us to play, and I’m equally clear on the profile of player we need.

“If we don’t have that player in our squad, then I’m very clear that we will need to do so in order to improve.

“I’m keen to get in players that have come from winning environments, in the same way that I said that about bringing in an experienced coach.

“It’s important that we regain that environment where winning is the norm.

“I think we have to get back to knowing that we have to win. In some of our home performances we haven’t looked like a team that has to win.

“This sort of environment is key, and it helps greatly if you are loaning or buying players from that type of environment.”

What about if and when players are sold – will some of that money be available to reinvest?

“That’s a question that’s hard to answer until you know who the player is, but I’d like to think I could twist the board’s arms!” said the Watford boss.

“Especially in the creative areas of the pitch, it’s hard to find free transfers and loans that you can rely on.

“It’s something we are continuing to discuss.”