All of Watford's 2023 summer signings (Ranked) | OneFootball

All of Watford's 2023 summer signings (Ranked) | OneFootball

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·20 September 2023

All of Watford's 2023 summer signings (Ranked)

Article image:All of Watford's 2023 summer signings (Ranked)


  • Jake Livermore was ranked as the worst signing for Watford this summer due to concerns about his lack of recent playing time and limited excitement from fans.
  • Rhys Healey's signing is considered a big gamble for Watford due to his ACL injury and uncertain return to full fitness, as well as his current position on the striker list.
  • Giorgi Chakvetadze, despite his previous highly-rated reputation, is seen as a risky signing due to his history of ACL injuries, but there is potential for success if he can stay healthy.

After a disappointing 2022/23 campaign, it was a very busy summer at Watford Football Club.

With new boss Valerien Ismael in place, the club let go plenty of players, including some star names in Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr, and established ones such as Tom Cleverley and Craig Cathcart.

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Nowhere near as many incomings came in as outgoings. However, the club did do some business in a summer that you feel was all about trying to balance the books.

Indeed, Watford spent very little, even despite netting decent fees for those star players mentioned above.

With that said, below, we have ranked Watford's six incoming deals, based on their reputation at the time of their arrival as opposed to how they have started the season.

6 Jake Livermore

With this being a ranked list, there was always going to be a 'worst' signing that Watford made this summer, and unfortunately, we've gone for Jake Livermore on this one.

As we touched upon above, the club did great work in getting a number of ageing players out of the club this summer, so eyebrows were raised when Livermore's arrival was announced in July.

Now, on the plus side, Livermore obviously brings with him a wealth of experience at 33-years-old, and perhaps crucially, has worked under Valerien Ismael before.

However, he played very little football at West Brom last season towards the end of the campaign, and it isn't exactly a signing that got the fans excited.

The hope among Watford supporters will be that Livermore is very much a squad player and that he will not be starting too many games at Vicarage Road this summer.

5 Rhys Healey

In at number five on this list has to come Rhys Healey.

Healey's addition was announced in June, and a brief look at his goalscoring record abroad made this a potentially very exciting deal for Watford.

For example, during the 2021/22 campaign, Healey scored 20 goals and registered four assists in Ligue 2, helping Toulouse win promotion back to Ligue 1.

That is where the issue with this deal comes, though, with Healey having suffered an ACL injury, playing just four games of that Ligue 1 season.

Undoubtedly there is a player there, but will he be the same on his return to full fitness? It remains to be seen, and therefore this signing is a big gamble on Watford's part.

Furthermore, to start the season, Healey does not appear to be very high up on Valerien Ismael's striking list, with the likes of Mileta Rajovic and Vakoun Bayo preferred so far.

If Healey can prove his fitness and become involved as the season goes on, firing in goals as he has done previously, he could make this ranking look ridiculous, but for now, he comes in as the fifth best addition at Watford this summer.

4 Giorgi Chakvetadze

In as Watford's fourth best bit of business this summer based on their reputation before arriving at Vicarage Road is Giorgi Chakvetadze.

Just a few years ago, the Georgian midfielder was very highly rated, with top clubs said to be eyeing him up.

As such, it was quite surprising to see him sign for Watford this summer. However, the fact he did speaks to the difficult few years he has had with injuries.

Indeed, Chakvetadze has suffered multiple ACL injuries prior to his arrival at Vicarage Road, which makes this another gamble for the Hornets.

Clearly, joining on a loan with a view to a permanent deal, Watford are protecting themselves should this one be a dud, though, and there is a chance this could prove a real shrewd signing if the player can stay fit and healthy.

At 24, he still has plenty of time to fulfil the potential he once had, even if his ceiling might not be so high these days.

3 Tom Ince

Watford's third best signing of the summer has to go down as Tom Ince.

The attacker joined the Hornets from Reading, who were relegated last season, with reports suggesting that Watford paid as little as £50K due to a release clause in Ince's contract.

Whilst not the most exciting signing, and certainly not one that could be considered a replacement for outgoing players such as Joao Pedro and Ismaila Sarr, Ince is a solid option nevertheless.

Despite being 31, the fee paid for him makes this almost irrelevant, and last season, Ince did score nine goals and register four assists in a struggling Reading side.

With over 369 Championship appearances to his name, too, Ince brings a tremendous amount of experience to Vicarage Road.

Come the end of the campaign, he could well prove to be a very very shrewd addition by Watford this summer.

2 Jamal Lewis

In at number two, the player we think is Watford's second best signing of the summer is Jamal Lewis.

Lewis joined the Hornets on a season-long loan deal, with the club holding an option to make this permanent.

With Hassane Kamara departing for Udinese this summer, signing an established left-back was absolutely crucial for Watford, given they only had youngster James Morris on the books as a natural in the position.

Although not fit to start the season, one expects Lewis will make that left-back role his own as the season progresses, making James Morris his deputy.

If all goes well, the Hornets even have the option to make his stay at Vicarage Road permanent, although the fee they would have to pay in this scenario is unclear.

1 Mileta Rajovic

Mattie Pollock will be hoping to force his way into the Watford squad this season.

Last but certainly not least, we have finally reached the number one on the list, and the player we consider to be Watford's best bit of business ahead of the season.

That player is Mileta Rajovic.

With only Vakoun Bayo and Rhys Healey on the books, and neither either making much of an impact or seemingly not fancied by Ismael, bringing in a number nine who fit the profile Ismael looks for in his front man was crucial for the Hornets this summer.

Fortunately, they did it eventually, with Mileta Rajovic arriving from Kalmar in Sweden.

It could definitely be considered a gamble by Watford, given that, just 12-24 months ago, Rajovic was on the books in the third and second tiers of Danish football.

However, in technical director Ben Manga, Watford have a man who knows how to spot a gem.

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