According to claims from reliable journalist Simon Collings of the London Evening Standard, Watford have been linked with a move for Lazio centre-back Bartolomeu Jacinto Quissanga, who is better known as Bastos.
The 27-year-old Angolan international, who currently plies his trade in the Serie A with Lazio, is rated at around £5million and the Hornets are mulling over a move to bring him to Vicarage Road.
However, those claims have been dismissed by Italian news outlet Il Tempo, with claims that Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi and Director of Football Igli Tare have made it clear that Bastos is not for sale.
The 27-year-old made 18 appearances for Lazio in the Serie A this past season and scored once, as Inzaghi’s men finished 8th in the standings and missed out on European qualification.
Bastos rose to prominence in his homeland with his boyhood club Petro Luanda and spent three full seasons before earning a move to Europe with Russian Premier League club FC Rostov in the summer of 2013. Bastos made an instant impact in Russia and guided his team to their first-ever Russian Cup victory in his debut season.
The centre-back went on to register 84 appearances in all competitions for Rostov over three seasons before moving across the continent to join Italian outfit Lazio in 2016.
Bastos has never really been considered as a sure starter for Lazio ever since his arrival at the Stadio Olimpico, with the Angolan largely filling in as a useful squad player at the club.
Bastos, who currently has two years left to run on his current contract at Lazio, has accumulated 6 goals in 70 appearances across all competitions, figures which clearly speak volumes of his sporadic first-team involvement in the Serie A. Hence, the 42-cap Angolan international might as well be tempted by the prospect of more regular minutes at Watford.
To put things into perspective, Watford aren’t in any dire need of bringing in central defensive reinforcements this summer, particularly after the capture of Craig Dawson from West Brom.
The Hornets had the likes of Christian Kabasele, Adrian Mariappa, Craig Cathcart and Sebastian Prodl as options at the heart of the defence last season and Dawson’s arrival is expected to add more depth to their ranks.
With that in mind, however, Watford’s interest in Bastos doesn’t look justified, to be honest. The 27-year-old has experience of playing top-level football in Russia and Italy but it is hard to make out from his profile whether he would really be an upgrade on the club’s current defensive options.
It is true that the likes of Cathcart, Mariappa and Kabasele all had their fair share of lapses in concentration at the back last season but the acquisition of Dawson is likely to help the Hornets massively next term.
Now, it is difficult to see where and how someone like Bastos, who doesn’t have any prior experience of playing in England, would fit into the ranks at Vicarage Road.
Watford already have five players competing for two spots at the back every week and they don’t really need to bring in another centre-half, unless, of course, manager Javi Gracia is eyeing up an overhaul of his defensive options.
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That, however, doesn’t seem to be the case and Watford would do better by shifting their focus to other areas of the squad.
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