Last season proved to be a historic one for Watford, as the Hornets recorded their best ever Premier League finish, and with new manager Walter Mazzarri keen to push on, the Hertfordshire club have pinpointed Lille’s Sofiane Boufal as a key transfer target.
Watford finished a comfortable 13th last season, having held a top-10 spot for much of the campaign.
Strikers Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo enjoyed a stunning partnership upfront, scoring a fine 28 Premier League goals between them.
But if there was one concern for the Hornets, it was that the rest of their squad only managed to muster nine league goals between the lot of them.
That may well explain why reports are linking the club with a move for Lille’s goal-happy midfielder Sofiane Boufal.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a breakout campaign in Ligue 1 last term, notching 11 goals from just 29 appearances for Les Dogues.
His performances have caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea and Tottenham, while European giants Juventus and Lyon are also in the mix.
Boufal’s price tag has also rocketed in light of his recent exploits, with transfermarkt.co.uk now valuing the French-born Moroccan at £11m – up from £3.5m 12 months ago.
And with a contract running until 2019, Lille have no obligation to sell any time soon.
The midfielder had knee surgery towards the end of last season, but Lille have stated they see no reason why this should impact on any potential transfer.
It’s believed that if Watford want to complete any deal, they’ll need to pay around £18m.
Boufal could well be the man to lighten the load on Deeney and Ighalo, while also adding some creative flair across a variety of midfield positions.
And having relied so heavily on just two players last season, Hornets fans may see that £18m figure, for a man with his best years all ahead of him, as something of a bargain.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.