Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Watford Are Not a Feeder Club for Italians'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Watford Are Not a Feeder Club for Italians'

Article excerpt

Byline: Giuseppe Muro

EXCLUSIVE GIANFRANCO ZOLA today insisted that Watford will not become a feeder club for Udinese following the Pozzo family's takeover at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets' new Italian owners have outlined long-term ambitions for a return to the Premier League but a wider significance could involve an influx of Udinese youngsters this summer.

It has been suggested that Watford will become a stop-gap -- to increase first-team experience and develop resale value for players discovered by the Pozzo's extensive scouting network. Spanish club Granada, who are also owned by the Pozzo family, operate a similar relationship successfully in La Liga.

The business model is unfamiliar in England but Zola, who replaced Sean Dyche last week, has allayed any fears that supporters might have that any arrivals will only be around for the short term.

"The idea is not to develop players here and send them to Udinese," he told Standard Sport.

"They [the owners] want to make Watford big, so I don't think that Watford will become a feeder club. I actually see it the other way around at the beginning.

"We are working for the good of the club and there is no doubt about that. If I didn't have that insurance, then I wouldn't be here. The Pozzo family have said they will use their resources to improve the situation here and I believe that.

"When you see what Udinese have achieved in the last few years, it is quite amazing. They keep producing players but they have been in the Champions League for a while.

"That is the policy of the owners. They have been very successful in Italy and Spain and they want to try to start a project over here, so hopefully it will work well."

A number of Udinese players have already been linked with moves to Watford but Zola insists the owners will not interfere in team selection.

"I believe so, yes -- over the next few days, there may be some new players coming," he said. …

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