Watford have been the prime example of a Jekyll and Hyde unit this season. Manager Walter Mazzarri should rightly be credited to churn out some brilliant results with a defence that consists of players who are below average if compared to most other Premier League sides.
While the Hornets have had pretty decent wins against tricky opponents, their record against the top five of the league has been poor and if Mazzarri is aiming for a top half at the end of the season, they need to get positive results from difficult fixtures against Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City.
They face three tough games- Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea – in their next seven matches and one wouldn’t be much encouraged to go against them with Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl and Miguel Britos at the back. Watford’s defensive quality and depth have been quite middling and in fact, the addition of Tom Cleverley to play alongside Valon Behrami is the only position in their squad, which looks above average.
Their next transfer target, however, indicates that Mazzarri is very much aware of it. According to Calciomercato, Watford are one of the main Premier League teams lining up a bid for Inter’s forgotten man Andrea Ranocchia.
The 28-year-old Italian centre-back has made just nine appearances so far, this season, with four of them in the Europa League, and is apparently aiming to leave Inter in search for regular game time. While West Ham United are also pursuing the centre-half and is likely to splash more than Watford to land him at London Stadium, Mazzarri might just edge out Bilic in this race due to his close relationship with the player.
The Watford manager used to manage Ranocchia during his stint at Inter and a reunion is a high probability. Ranocchia joined Inter in 2011 from Genoa and has made 129 Serie A appearances for them. But it was since last year, that his place has gone down the pecking order. After spending the second half of the last season with Sampdoria, he hasn’t seen many first team action this season.
In his 5 appearances in the domestic side this season, he has won seven tackles this season with a success rate of 27%. He has made seven interceptions, 18 clearances and four blocks. Of course, his stats aren’t good given his inaction from top level football for long, but it doesn’t say the full story.
Ranocchia would definitely be a good aerial threat to any side in the Premier League and he has previously caught the attention of many with his knack for timely tackles. With his big frame of 196 cm, Watford could be deadly from set-pieces and given Mazzarri’s previous stint with him, the Italian manager could definitely make a great player out of him.