Watford striker Andre Gray has insisted that the Hornets must ensure that they keep hold of both Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney in January if they are to secure promotion back to the Premier League.
Both Sarr and Deeney were subject to intense speculation throughout the summer following Watford’s relegation from the Premier League. Sarr was linked with potential moves to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United with the Hornets valuing him at around £40 million. While Deeney was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
In the end both players remained at Vicarage Road and have helped the Hornets get off to a strong start to the campaign. Sarr has so far managed to score three goals and register one assist in his eight Championship appearances, while he has yet to really get going have made just two appearances so far in the league.
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Speaking to the Watford Observer, Gray insisted that both Sarr and Deeney offer qualities that are integral to the Hornets having a chance to earn promotion back to the Premier League. The former Burnley forward insisted that they would be impossible players to replace in January should they depart.
He said: “The proof’s in the pudding with Isma,” said Gray. “He’s a beast, simple as that. He’ll win us more games than you can imagine. Even if he’s not scoring or assisting, if anyone watches games and understands football, they will understand the effect that he brings to the game.
“He’s a game winner, even when we’re not playing that well, he’s like our Messi. He is one of them players that you just give him the ball, and just let him do what he’s doing.
“We’re gonna have a lot of problems with the club if if they let him go in January because of the effect that he has and if the club are really serious about getting promoted then he’s the person that we need. Beyond that, I’m sure clubs are going to come in, regardless.
“Obviously, the politics in football is a bit strange and whatever but if we’re serious about getting promoted, then, we need to keep him.
“[With Troy] it is the same argument, we have with Isma. If we’re serious about getting promoted then we need to keep Troy as well.
Gray has just started to come back into the fold at Watford before the international break and he has netted one goal in first three league appearances, and he knows what it takes to get out of the Championship having been named Player of the Year when winning the division with Burnley in 2015/16.
He is right to suggest that both Sarr and Deeney have qualities above that of the normal Championship player, and the pair will be more and more crucial for the Hornets as the campaign progresses. Sarr has already shown his quality averaging 2.4 successful dribbles and 1.8 shots per game so far this term (Sofascore).
Deeney meanwhile has the experience and leadership qualities that would be invaluable especially during a potential promotion run-in. Watford will likely field further interest in the pair in January, but they have to do all they can once again to keep hold of them both.