Isaac Success, Adalberto Peñaranda, Richarlison…
The list of young talent bought by Watford from all around the world over the past few years continues to increase, even if a handful of them are yet to make a first-team appearance for the Premier League club.
Following a business model implemented by Udinese for a long time (think Alexis Sanchez, Juan Cuadrado etc…), the Hornets have grown considerably since 2012, thanks to the Pozzo family, who are the driving force behind this success.
How do they do it? Well, David Lasaracina, a Belgian agent who knows Gino Pozzo rather well, spoke to L’Equipe about it all.
He said: “They were the first to gamble on players they’d seen very little of, and they have an exceptional ability to make a decision, which is the different. There isn’t a hierarchy of 40 people to get to them, which is a problem in bigger clubs.
“Pozzo is in direct contact with his scouts. He has complete confidence in those he works with, those who have 10-15 years experience. A scout who works for him can call him at any time, day or night, to tell him to make a move on a player in order to not lose out on him, as Udine and Watford don’t have the same resources as bigger clubs”.
Giving the example of Thomas Heurtaux, now at Hellas Verona, for whom Gino Pozzo flew to Le Bourget in France in his private jet in order to negotiate the contract personally, the agent was keen to emphasise how hands on the owners are.
Of course, such a system has its risks, but the rewards tend to be worth it.
Since then, other clubs have developed their own version of the Pozzo way, like Monaco, who have a continuous conveyor belt of talent coming through the club, buying low and selling high.
There’s still some way to go before Watford reach the Ligue 1 champions’ heights in Europe, but with a solid manager like Marco Silva at the helm, who knows?