Watford have confirmed the signing of French midfielder Pape Gueye from Le Havre.
The deal will go through on July 1, when Gueye’s contract with the Ligue 2 side expires, with the 21-year-old signing a five-year deal at the Hornets.
With his contract set to run out in the summer, Gueye was able to talk to clubs from January and was subject to interest from the likes of Marseille, Sevilla, AC Milan, Udinese, Valencia and Arsenal.
Who is Watford signing Pape Gueye? Five things to know…
- Position: Midfield (defensive)
- Age: 21
- Current club: Le Havre
- International experience: France U19s (6 apps)
- Did you know? Alumni of Le Havre’s youth system also include Paul Pogba, Riyad Mahrez and Dimitri Payet.
In the 2019/20 Ligue 2 season, which was called to an end on Tuesday, Gueye made 25 appearances and recorded two assists, although he is primarily a defensive midfielder.
Despite his young age, Gueye – who has previously been describe as a combination of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba – was also handed the captain’s armband at Le Havre on a number of occasions, such was his importance to the Ligue 2 club.
As things stand, it is uncertain whether Gueye will be able to represent Watford once he does link up with his new club, should the 2019/20 Premier League campaign be ongoing.
Watford currently sit 17th in the Premier League, outside the relegation zone only on goal difference ahead of Bournemouth. They are also two points clear of 19th-placed Aston Villa, but Dean Smith’s side have a game in hand.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) April 29, 2020
The Hornets have endured a tough 2019/20 campaign, with Javi Gracia being sacked in September following a poor start to the Premier League which saw Watford pick up just one point from their opening four matches.
Gracia was replaced by former Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores, but he would last only until December after losing six of his 12 matches including an 8-0 defeat at Manchester City.
Since Nigel Pearson’s arrival, the Hornets have slowly improved and moved off the bottom of the table when many had already called time on their Premier League stay.
Under Pearson, Watford also became the first team to beat Liverpool in the Premier League this season, winning 3-0 at Vicarage Road to end the Reds’ hopes of an Invincible campaign. But the focus remains on safety for the Hornets with nine games left to play.