Looking at the defence
It’s three weeks since we played our last game of the season against Sheffield United and it is very much the close season now as we await the 2021/22 fixtures in four days time.
This is the time of year when clubs are linked with signing players they may be very keen to sign, players they could be interested in and players who they have no intention of signing. The early indications this year highlight the desire to strengthen our defence.
It’s no surprise. Ben Gibson is about to go out of the door for the final time after a Burnley career that lasted 63 minutes. He will make his move to Norwich a permanent one before we kick off again. James Tarkowski and Ben Mee are both just a year away from the end of their contracts while Jimmy Dunne is currently out of contract and Kevin Long is injured.
In terms of central defenders, that leaves just Long contracted to us beyond next season so it is probably no surprise that the early links have been with defenders, some we’ve previously been linked with and others not.
One or two more traditional links, shall we say, have surfaced in Collins’ defensive partner at Stoke Harry Souttar and Liverpool pair Nat Phillips and Neco Williams while there have been others from further afield. Juan Iglesias, a right back from Getafe, is one. That one looked like the work of an agent, the 22-year-old has made one first team appearance for his club in their final game of 2020.
Victor Nelsson is another. The 22-year-old Dane is currently with FC Copenhagen and has made his full international debut. Like some of the domestic players linked, Nelsson is a central defender.
And then, yesterday, came a much more surprising link, that of Ashley Young who lined up alongside Sean Dyche when he made his Watford debut in 2003.
Collins and Worrall seem to be the favourites. The 24-year-old Worrall seems to have been a target for even longer than his former Forest team mate Henri Lansbury. He’s now played almost 130 league games for Forest having previously added games for both Dagenham & Redbridge and Rangers during loan spells.
Moving over to Stoke, and that’s a place where Dyche seems to enjoy shopping having already brought in Michael Kightly, Jonathan Walters, Phil Bardsley, Peter Crouch and Erik Pieters from them. Could Collins become number six?
He’s an inexperienced player with just 39 league appearances to his name and he’s been ruled out since February with an injury. Reports this week suggest we’ve made an offer for him with conflicting comments that the offer has been both accepted and rejected while some would have you believe there are a number of other clubs with an interest.
It was way back in September 2003 when Young came on for his Watford debut alongside Dyche and he scored too in a 3-1 home win against Millwall. He’s since played for Aston Villa and Manchester United while also winning 39 caps for England, the last of which was the World Cup semi-final against Croatia in 2018.
We’ve also been linked with midfielders, wingers and forwards but as my old friend Arthur Bellamy always used to tell me: “You sort your defence out first,” and that’s what speculation suggests we are doing with Collins, Worrall and Young currently the favourites.Follow UpTheClarets:
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