It has been a busy summer window for Watford so far as they make alterations to their squad ahead of their return to the Championship.
Given the number of quality players they have amassed during their recent five-year spell in the English top flight, it is perhaps no surprise to see so many of their current squad linked with a summer departure.
Abdoulaye Doucouré is thought to be near to completing his move to Everton, Will Hughes has been touted as a potential Tottenham target, and Troy Deeney has emerged as a reported target of Premier League clubs.
The most recent potential departee is Andre Gray as, according to the Express & Star, West Bromwich Albion have opened talks with the Hornets over a potential loan move for the striker – should they be unable to land primary target Karlan Grant.
The report claims that Watford are open to letting the 29-year-old striker leave the club this summer on loan but ahead of Watford’s first Championship campaign in five years, they could be making a major error by allowing that move to happen.
Do you know what club these 9 ex-Watford academy graduates are at now?
Gray hasn’t been at his best for the Hornets over the past few years but his record in the English second tier is undeniable.
The 29-year-old has scored 42 goals in his previous two seasons at that level and has shown he thrives under the responsibility of playing for a team chasing promotion. In 2014/15, he led Brentford to the play-offs and the following year, he fired Burnley to Premier League promotion.
Getting out of the Championship is a very difficult task, particularly under a new manager in Vladimir Ivic who has no experience of the division.
With that in mind, letting go of a proven and experienced hitman like Gray seems like it could be a mistake.
Yes, Watford have brought in a proven goalscorer in Glenn Murray but at 36, there has got to be question marks whether he has the durability to be their week in week out number nine and consistently score goals in a Championship season in which games are going to be coming thick and fast.
With Deeney also linked with a move away, you’ve got to question whether it might be better to the Hornets to hang on to a proven quantity like Gray rather than sending him out on loan.
There will be a fair few sides pushing for promotion this season and it looks set to be a tight race. You wonder whether this deal could ultimately prove a costly mistake.