Released defender Rob Kiernan could be set for a surprising move to Premier League side Wigan Athletic, the Watford Observer understands.

Kiernan had been offered a new two-year contract by Watford this summer but he decided against signing the deal which was on, what the club described as, “marginally reduced terms” compared to his previous contract.

No compensation fee is due for the 20-year-old centre half, who is comfortable on the ball and can also play in midfield.

When Kiernan left the club last week, Watford’s head of football business Ross Wilson explained: “As he is under 24, this means he has the option to leave.

“Rob is now free to join another club without any compensation being due.

“We wish him all the very best for his future career in football.”

Kiernan only made two substitute appearances for Watford, both from the bench in the FA Cup, and had loan spells at Kilmarnock, Yeovil Town, Bradford City and Wycombe Wanderers.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international’s time at Wycombe was severely hampered by injury as he went off in his opening game at the club. Whilst he was fit enough to start the following match, he went off again and was then unable to break into the promotion-chasing side.

Kiernan had been at Watford since the age of nine but was a midfielder until a few years ago when new Watford boss Sean Dyche recommended he switched to centre back.

In an interview the Watford Observer earlier this year, Kiernan said: “I prefer to play at centre back. I made the switch two seasons ago so I am a new centre back, so to speak, and I am still learning the position a lot.

“I do prefer it though and I am more suited to it. Now I want to try and make that position my own.”

Click here to read more of Kiernan’s interview, where he explains why he tries to mould himself on Bolton’s Gary Cahill.