Watford have appointed former Barnsley and West Brom boss Valerien Ismael as their new boss.
The Frenchman returns to the Championship after a spell in Turkey with Besiktas. Ismael becomes the 19th permanent Watford manager of the Pozzo era and again the club have made an appointment early on in the summer, after doing the same with Rob Edwards this time last year.
Speaking in his first interview as the new Hornets boss, Ismael spoke of the positives of coming in ahead of the pre-season, saying:
“I think it’s really good. That first you know quickly the environment, the club, and to start to work with the board on the transfer market to work on the players.”
And when asked what the next few days and weeks will look like for him, he said:
“I think to start to work on the squad already, and to think about the way we want the shape. We want to start and for that you need to pick the right players on the market you can get. But as I say, when you start earlier when the other teams are maybe not ready or don’t know where they are staying at the minute, it would be easier for us to be quick on the market.”
Watford will have a lot of work to do in the summer transfer market. They’re seeing a host of loan players return to their parent clubs and they have a number of other players out of contracts. Add to that the impending departure of Joao Pedro and the probable departure of Ismaila Sarr and it should make for a very hectic summer at Vicarage Road.
One credit to Watford is that they’ve made another early appointment. It’ll certainly be helpful for Ismael to have an entire summer to work with his new players and to get started in the transfer market, but he needs to be backed by the board – both in the market and in terms of time.
If Ismael can be given the license to implement his own changes on the playing staff, then Watford could have similar success to Barnsley in 2020/21, when Ismael guided the Tykes to a top six finish in the Championship.
But Ismael is perhaps sitting in the hottest seat of them all and if he can’t provide immediate results next season, he could quickly be given the chop.