Walter Mazzarri
Walter Mazzarri is set for his first taste of the Premier League Getty

Quique Sanchez Flores defied the odds in Watford's first season in the Premier League to guide the club to safety without much fuss and even reached the FA Cup semi-final. Yet, it was not even enough guarantee his job. After winning only two of the last 12 Premier League games the Pozzo family decided to replace him with Walter Mazzarri just as they did a year earlier jettisoning Slavisa Jokanovic even though the current Fulham manager had secured promotion to the top flight.

Managerial sackings and a prolific transfer activity have become the two traits of the Italian family and their wheeler-dealer strategy looks set to continue under Mazzarri.

The Hornets have not been as active as in previous summer transfer windows, especially last season when the club recruited up to 15 players, but have still managed to add five new faces to the squad in promising Isaac Success, Christian Kabasele, Jerome Sinclair, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Brice Dja Djedje. However it seems the club's two biggest triumphs to the date was keeping Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney despite the duo being linked with big-money moves to rival clubs.

Watford reportedly turned down bids of over £20m from Leicester City to sign their captain Deeney. They also signified their ambitions breaking the club-record fee to sign Success from Granada in a £12.5m deal.

Jose Manuel Jurado, Almen Abdi, George Byers, Gabriele Angella, Joel Ekstrand, Daniel pudil, Steven Berghuis and Nathan Ake have all left the club but centre-back Kabasele, recruited from Genk in a £6m deal, and former Napoli wing-back Zuniga are expected to have key roles in the back-line of Mazzarri's 3-5-2 formation.

Last season

Premier League: 13th

FA Cup: semi-finals

League Cup: second round

Top Scorer: Odion Ighalo

Summer's work

Manager – Walter Mazzarri

Mazzarri played in different divisions and clubs from 1981 to 1995 before going into coaching with Sicilian Serie C2 outfit Acireale in the 2001-2002 campaign. He has since managed Sampdoria, Napoli and Inter Milan, reaching the Coppa Italia final with the first two while also leading the Neapolitans to an impressive second-place finish in 2013. Furthermore, the 54-year-old Italian has coached the likes of Antonio Cassano, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edison Cavan along the way but there are still question marks on how the experienced boss and his 3-5-2 formation will pan out in English football.

Key player – Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo scored 17 Premier League goals last term Getty

In June The Guardian reported that Watford had turned down a £38m offer for Ighalo from Shanghai SIPG. That rejection is a solid proof of the importance of the Nigerian striker to Hornets hopes of remaining in the Premier League.

His 17 goals in 42 appearances during the 2015-2016 kept Watford in the top flight despite fading away alarmingly in the second part of the season. His partnership with Deeney was lethal for their rivals and, with Success ready to fight for a starting place, the duo can only be expected to improve.


Watford's second season in the Premier League should help them consolidate their place in the division.

IBT prediction – 17th

Another change of manager can complicate their start to the season. But the goals of Ighalo, Deeney and the contribution of Success should be enough to steer them clear of the relegation dog-fight.