Watford were knocked out of the FA Cup following a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

A week before the cup tie, Watford sporting director Cristiano Giaretta spoke to the Italian media and heaped praise on Bruno Fernandes.

The Hornets chief played a role in bringing the current Red Devils star to Italy in 2012 as Giaretta was at Novara when the Portugal international then arrived at the club.

Fernandes, who was left on the bench against the Championship side, was seen pictured with Giaretta on the day of the match. The Watford director discussed the meeting with his former player during an interview with TuttoMercatoWeb.

“He gave me the shirt that said ‘to my first real director’. It was exciting. It’s been water under the bridges. Bruno has a big head (as in maturity, not ego), beyond the qualities,” he said.

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Giaretta also discussed Fernandes’ club teammate, Paul Pogba, and about the France international’s long-term future.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see him again in Italy. But I struggle to think that anyone can pay his salary. This market will be made up of many exchanges. No major players. There are clubs that evaluate loans with right to buy,” the English club’s chief explained.

The coronavirus crisis had impacted finances of all football clubs and also hit the summer transfer window. Giaretta was asked his opinion on the winter market.

He said: “Some important purchases and sales can be made even in this complicated moment. It will not be frequent in this market, but anything can happen. The potential of the big clubs remains high from a financial point of view even if everyone thinks more about the economic aspect.”

It’s worth noting Giaretta was giving his general take of the market and not necessarily specific to Watford’s transfer plans for the January window.