Having been announced as Watford’s first signing of the summer, Pape Gueye was meant to be a part of Nigel Pearson’s squad next year.
However, immediately after the unveiling, the player made it clear he didn’t want to move to Vicarage Road and instead decided to use his lawyer to find him a move elsewhere, landing in Marseille.
The Ligue 1 club feel confident they won’t have face any problems, seeing enough inconsistencies in Gueye’s contract with the Hornets win any battle, but Watford aren’t going to go down without a fight.
They made that clear to the French media straight after Gueye was revealed as a Marseille player, and Éric Roy, their director of football, told L’Equipe on Wednesday: “We aren’t going to say anything, but the club will assert its rights”.
So far, there has been ‘no talks’ between the two sides, and the French club have explained why they made their move when they did.
The club told the newspaper: “We activated proceedings after reading [Gueye’s] lawyer’s declarations that he’d cancelled his contract with Watford. Our team studied the legal situation and we decided to sign Gueye knowingly, in order to be ready to any eventuality”.
But those at Watford aren’t so sure, as a source close to the club said: “It’s a dossier that stinks for Marseille. They don’t know Mr Pozzo if they think a compensation could sort everything out. Principles are more important to him”.
It’s stated Watford had set a €5m clause for Gueye, and L’Equipe feel that, at that price, they might have been willing to talk.
But Rennes, who were also keen, backed out fairly quickly after realising the player’s entourage didn’t want to go down the ‘negotiating with Watford’ road, leaving Marseille with the only ones willing to take the risk of offering him a contract as a ‘free agent’, thus starting this whole mess.
As for Le Havre in all this, the club that should have received some compensation, their president explained they feel ‘wronged’ and are ‘keeping all their options open’, before stating they will ‘take action’.