Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Watford Looking To Recall 30 Y/O Ace To Vicarage Road: What Can He Add To Gracia’s Side?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

With less than 12 hours left in the transfer window, Watford are looking to make a last-minute addition in Costel Pantilimon by recalling him from his loan spell in the La Liga. The 30-year-old has spent the first half of the season with Deportivo de La Coruna and has only managed to appear in 7 games. The relegation threatened Spanish outfit has 4 options other than Pantilimon in between the sticks and this has paved a clear path for the Romanian international to make a club exit. Deportivo fired Pepe Mel from the managerial post earlier in the season but things have hardly changed since the arrival of Cristóbal Parralo.

Pantilimon started his professional career with Politehnica Timișoara where he appeared 114 times in the shot-stopper position. His impressive display for the Romanian outfit earned him a loan move to Manchester City in the summer of 2011 to act as cover behind Joe Hart. In his debut season with the Citizens, his Man Of The Match performance against Arsenal in the EFL League Cup obviously impressed the bosses at Etihad and Pantilimon was signed up on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.

But his career with the Premier League giants ended in 2014 and the Bacau-born player made his way out of the club to Sunderland. The last 3 seasons have seen him struggling to make a significant impact for any side, often falling way below the pecking order. Watford currently has Heurelho Gomes as their number one option and Orestis Karnezis and Daniel Bachmann as cover.

Gomes is 36-years-old and has featured in most of the games for the Hornets this season. Unfortunately, he went down to an injury earlier this month and is set to miss tomorrow’s fixture against Stoke City. This is obviously a cause for concern for the newly appointed boss, Javi Gracia, who has been tasked with the responsibility of getting the team back to winning ways.

What started out to be a remarkable start to the 2017/18 season has withered into a mediocre 10th place standing in the Premier League. The Golden Boys have won just 1 out of their last 11 league games and are falling steeply down towards a relegation battle.

Standing at 6 feet and 8 inches tall, Pantilimon has shown signs of unwavering brilliance in his limited days with City and is eager to find more minutes on the pitch. His arrival will help secure the Hornets backline in the gruelling battle of surviving a season in top-flight English football.

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