The summer transfer window has opened and it won’t just be Watford fans eagerly awaiting news of new signings.

Up and down the land, supporters of every club at pretty much every level live and breathe transfers once the summer comes.

For every deal that is actually completed, there are perhaps hundreds of rumours, whispers and down-right guesses.

Here we take a look back at a small selection of players Watford have signed in previous summer transfer windows, and how their time at Vicarage Road panned out.

September 2020 – Francisco Sierralta

The Chile international followed a well-trodden path to Watford, having time at both Granada and Udinese before the Hornets paid around £300,000 for him.

He took a while to break into the team, but from December onwards was a permanent part of the defence as Watford secured promotion.

Sierralta made only five appearances in the Premier League as Watford dropped straight back down, and a further 18 in 22/23.

Francisco SierraltaFrancisco Sierralta (Image: PA)

Last season he was played as a No.6 by Valerien Ismael until Jake Livermore staked a claim to that place, and so the defender ended up with a further 27 league outings.

That has seemingly cost him his place for his country as he didn’t feature in their World Cup qualifiers last year and hasn’t made it into the squad for the current Copa America.

Four years and 88 appearances later, could the defender with the man-bun potentially head towards the exit this summer?

July 2018 – Ken Sema

There are few players in the current squad more popular with the fans than Sema – or King Ken as they’ve dubbed him.

The Swedish international is the Hornets’ second longest-serving player after Dan Bachmann, having moved to Vicarage Road from Ostersunds six years ago.

In his first season, Sema made only nine Premier League starts and only once managed a full 90 minutes, whereupon he was loaned – unsurprisingly – to Udinese and registered 32 Serie A outings and a couple of goals in the 19/20 campaign.

As he told the Watford Observer recently, the Swede was all set to leave Watford permanently at that point, but the club decided to keep him and he was a permanent fixture in the promotion-winning team of 20/21 with 41 appearances and five goals.

Ken SemaKen Sema (Image: PA)

Again his opportunities were limited in the top division and he started only seven Premier League games, but then bounced back to register 40 Championship outings and five goals in 22/23.

Last season Sema had his worst run of injuries since coming to Vicarage Road, but made 29 outings and with another year on his contract plus the club having an option to extend it, he’s likely to be a key member of Tom Cleverley’s squad.

August 2017 – Andre Gray

The weight of an £18million transfer fee, having played for Luton and only scoring twice before Christmas in his first season meant Gray was trying to push water up a hill to win over the Hornets faithful from very early on in his time at Vicarage Road.

The striker scored five in 31 Premier League games in that first season, but never looked totally at home.

However, his second season saw a slightly better return of seven goals in 29 league games, and his performances in the run to the FA Cup Final possibly don’t get the credit they deserve.

His goals against Newcastle and Crystal Palace were crucial, and it was his pass that set up Gerard Deulofeu for the extra-time winner in the semi-final at Wembley.

Andre Gray.Andre Gray. (Image: Action Images)

But the 2019/20 campaign probably put the writing on the wall for Gray, as he scored just twice in the first half of the season and then spent most of the rest of the time one the bench as Watford headed for relegation.

The goals didn’t flow for him as the Hornets won promotion the following year, and Gray spent 2021/22 on loan with QPR in the Championship, scoring ten in 30 games.

Gray was then allowed to join Greek side Aris Salonika on a free transfer and scored 13 times in 39 appearances, including five in four Europa Conference League qualifiers.

A year ago he moved to Saudi Arabia and scored seven times in 28 games for Al-Riyadh, who finished 14th in the 18-team league.

July 2015 – Steven Berghuis

When a club turns over as many players as Watford have in the last decade or so, there are going to be some who outstay their welcome, and others who may have been allowed to slip through the net.

Dutchman Steven Berghuis is one of those who appears to fall into the latter category.

Signed from AZ Alkmaar for €6.5million in summer 2015, his arrival may have gone under the radar somewhat given he followed the signings of Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue.

He featured five times in the first nine Premier League games, but never for any longer than 26 minutes, and he was restricted to just half an hour from the bench in the Carabao Cup tie away at Preston.

His sole start for Watford came at Newcastle in a 1-0 FA Cup Third Round win in January 2016, and he then had a run of four consecutive appearances as substitute for the last half an hour towards the end of the league season.

Steven Berghuis.Steven Berghuis. (Image: Action Images)

So, a combined total of just 327 minutes in Watford colours, but the clue as to what Berghuis might be capable of – given his lack of time and overall impact at Vicarage Road – was that he picked up three full international caps for Holland during that season.

However, he was loaned to Feyenoord in summer 2016 and registered 29 appearances and eight goals as they won the Eredivisie for the first time since 1999.

Berghuis made the move permanent a year later with Watford receiving the same fee they had paid Alkmaar, and went on to play some 200 games for Feyenoord, winning a Dutch Cup and scoring 87 goals plus assisting in a further 64.

His international career flourished, and he played in four of Holland’s five games at the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar.

The forward joined Ajax for €5.5m in July 2021, and has since scored 31 times in 177 appearances while taking his international caps to a total of 46.

July 2012 – Almen Abdi

Has there been a better signing during the Pozzo ownership, pound for pound, than that of the mercurial Swiss international?

The ‘Professor’ had already spent a season on loan at Vicarage Road before making the move permanent in 2013, and he went on to make a total of 131 largely faultless performances in Watford colours in total.

Abdi scored on his debut for the Hornets, his 88th-minute free-kick as Watford came from 2-1 down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park being a sign of things to come.

He went on to register 12 goals as the Hornets made it all the way to the Play-Off Final before losing, ironically, to Palace.

The loan from Udinese was turned into a permanent transfer in July 2013, but injury blighted him in 13/14 and he managed only 13 Championship appearances.

But the following season Abdi pulled the strings and weighed in with nine league goals as promotion to the Championship was achieved. His two goals in a 5-0 away romp at Fulham in December 2014 were one of many highlights of Abdi’s time at Vicarage Road.

Abdi strikes against Villa.Abdi strikes against Villa. (Image: Action Images)

The midfielder looked totally at home in the top flight, and his two goals in 32 league games that season – away at Stoke and at home to Aston Villa – were both crackers.

After leaving Watford in summer 2016, Abdi went on to make 23 more Championship outings over two seasons for Sheffield Wednesday before retiring.

August 2011 – Jonathan Hogg

In perhaps the most famous piece of commentary associated with Watford, there is one four-letter surname that is generally overlooked in favour of the more famous name that followed.

Of course the reference is to the legendary ‘Here’s Hogg . . . DEENEY!’ moment from Sky Sports’ coverage of the 2013 play-off semi-final second leg victory over Leicester City at Vicarage Road.

Troy Deeney, quite rightly, gets the glory and recognition for his lethally-struck goal that day, but he would be the first to acknowledge the intelligent knock-down from Jonathan Hogg which created the strike.

The midfielder joined Watford on a free transfer from Aston Villa in summer 2011 having previously had loan spells at Darlington and Portsmouth.

Small in stature but big in energy, Hogg played 40 times in his first season at Vicarage Road, adding industry and a firm tackle to the Hornets’ engine room.

Jonathan Hogg.Jonathan Hogg. (Image: Action Images)

He followed that up with a further 42 appearances the next season and, although he never managed a goal in Watford colours, that comes as little surprise given he has netted a mere six times in almost 400 professional outings.

Hogg left Watford for Huddersfield in July 2013, and became a true stalwart for the Terriers, signing a new one-year contract in early June.

He’ll doubtless look to add to his 378 appearances for them this coming season, with a 400th outing for Huddersfield and 500th career appearance well within his reach.

August 2005 – Darius Henderson

If ever there were a player signed to suit a manager’s style of play, then it was when Watford paid Gillingham £450,000 for Darius Henderson at the start of Aidy Boothroyd’s first full season in charge at Vicarage Road.

They were match made in heaven – a big, strong, uncompromising centre forward who could lead the aerial assault, hold the ball up and chip in with goals.

Henderson made his debut a day after signing and scored in a 2-1 loss away at Preston.

However, he quickly formed a partnership with Marlon King that terrified Championship defences and quickly lifted the Hornets up the table.

Darius HendersonDarius Henderson (Image: Action Images)

In his 30 league games during that 05/06 promotion season he scored 14 times – nine of which were headers – and his penalty at the Millennium Stadium helped secured the victory over Leeds that sent the Hornets back to the Premier League.

Like the rest of the Watford squad, Henderson found the top flight a lot tougher and didn’t score a league goal until February.

After relegation, both the Hornets and Henderson flourished again and his 12 goals in 40 league games gave then another shot at the play-offs, but Hull beat them over two legs in the semi-final.

A fee of £2m took Henderson to Sheffield United in summer 2008, and he went on to play for Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Leyton Orient in a career that saw him make nearly 500 professional appearances before retirement in 2017.