Watford manager Marco Silva has told of his desire to keep mooted Everton target Troy Deeney in the January transfer window despite failing to hand the Hornets captain a substantial amount of game-time during the start of the season.
Deeney is a key figure for the Hertfordshire club in the dressing room and has been prominent in Watford's recent rise, during which they have established themselves as an esteemed Premier League outfit.
The 29-year-old has featured in 10 league matches this season, starting just four, though he did hinder himself in his quest for minutes when he was handed a three-match suspension for gouging Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen's cheek in October.
Deeney's daftness caused him to miss his side's loss to Everton and wins over West Ham United and Newcastle United, but he did return as a substitute against Manchester United and started in Watford's draw with Tottenham Hotspur in midweek.
The former Walsall forward may keep his place in Silva's side for their trip to Burnley on Saturday (9 December), with the Portuguese confident his club captain sees his future at Vicarage Road.
"I'm sure he's happy here," Silva said in his press conference, per the Daily Mail. "What he did today in training was work normally and he comes here with that approach to his team-mates and all the staff.
"I want him to fight and work every day to keep his position and if he does not keep his position I expect him to work hard to win it back. That is what I expect of Troy.
"I don't want to talk about Troy, Richarlison, Stefano Okaka, Isaac Success leaving in January. In each moment we will decide what is the best for Watford.
"I don't know anything about any offers for Troy. I don't want anybody to leave in January. We only want to buy."
Silva, who was tempted to join Everton but was not allowed to even speak to Farhad Moshiri et al by Watford, will attempt to block a prospective approach from the Toffees for Deeney, who flirted with a move to Leicester City not so long ago. Everton manager Sam Allardyce is said to be a fan of Deeney but is also targeting a number of burly forwards with Premier League experience, as well as Arsenal outcast Theo Walcott.
Allardyce is prioritising the signing of a striker next month but the Toffees may find adequate replacements for Romelu Lukaku hard to come by, with Brighton and Hove Albion reportedly preparing an approach for Celtic forward Moussa Dembele.
The young Frenchman was of interest to Everton in the summer but the Goodison hierarchy decided against a move for the former Fulham forward, whose stock has risen dramatically since he arrived in Glasgow.
Everton were recently encouraged to reignite their interest in Dembele by former defender Alan Stubbs, but Brighton are prepared to test Celtic's resolve with a £20m ($26.94m) bid the 21-year-old, who is valued at £30m by Brendan Rodgers' side.