Watford are on the verge of completing the signing of Nordin Amrabat from Malaga after having agreed to meet his €8m (£6m, 8.7m) release clause. However, IBTimes UK understands the Premier League surprise package are still interested in Andros Townsend, after Quique Sanchez Flores admitted his intentions to bring the Spurs outcast to Vicarage Road.
Malaga boss Javi Gracia previously warned the Premier League side they will not negotiate the departures of Amrabat or keeper Carlos Kameni, but admitted they would be unable to keep their stars should any suitors met their release clauses, set at €8m and €1m respectively.
"I do not think any player will leave the club for something lower than their release clause," the Malaga boss said to AS. "But players leaving the club if someone pays their release clause is inevitable."
Malaga owner Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani confirmed on Friday morning (15 January) through his Twitter account that Amrabat he will move away during the current mercato after the player had asked to leave to fulfil his "dream".
Sources close to the negotiations have confirmed to IBTimes UK that Watford have already agreed to pay the €8m buy-out clause to make Amrabat their first signing of the window, although the deal could be delayed until next week as the player is keen on playing his final game for Malaga in the La Liga encounter against Sevilla on Saturday.
Amrabat, who can play both as a winger and a second striker, joined Malaga last year from Galatasaray for around €3.5m after impressing during a loan spell at the club. The 28-year-old star has become a favourite with supporters, providing 13 assists in 63 appearances at the club.
The arrival of the Moroccan star may seem like the end of the Watford interest in signing Townsend. However, IBTimes UK understands that the Premier League side are still in the race for the Spurs wantaway and will make a new bid to secure his services in the coming days, having had a first approach of around £10m rejected.
Sanchez Flores himself recently identified Townsend as a main priority to bolster the squad during the current mercato.
"He has the characteristics that we are looking for," the Spanish boss said, according to BT Sport. "We have players in the side who can play intelligent football but we need skill, we need velocity. We need to make a balance with these players and he has the characteristics. I don't like to talk about names but these are the kind of characteristics we are looking for."
The Chronicle, meanwhile, has reported that Watford will have to battle with Newcastle for Townsend as the Magpies have held discussions in the past couple of days over a potential £12m deal.