Explained: The real reason why Watford signing this FIFA U20 World Cup star would be a solid coup

Why Watford should snap up Jose Cifuentes as a long-term prospect

According to The Sun, Watford are mulling over a move for emerging Ecuadorian starlet Jose Cifuentes in January, with the report claiming that manager Quique Sanchez Flores has made a personal check on the midfielder. 

The 20-year-old, who was one of the key driving forces behind Ecuador’s third-place finish at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, had been the subject of interest from reigning Premier League champions Man City and Scottish champions Celtic in the summer. (h/t Sun)

However, both City and Celtic had bids turned down by the youngster’s current club, America de Quito, as they felt neither club put a good enough offer on the table to match their valuation of Cifuentes, who is widely acclaimed as one of the best emerging prospects in South America. 

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The highly-rated defensive midfielder was also a part of the Ecuador U-20 side that lifted the 2019 U-20 South American Championship and he was already made his mark at the senior international level for his nation, earning 3 caps till date. 

Cifuentes started for Ecuador against Argentina during the most recent international break and held his own, despite his team suffering a heavy 6-1 defeat at the hands of the continental heavyweights.

Watford are hopeful that he will rack up more appearances for Ecuador before January, which will make it easier for them to obtain a work permit for the starlet. 

The youngster shot to prominence with Universidad Catolica in his homeland and currently plies his trade with America de Quito. The 20-year-old has already made 16 appearances for his club in all competitions this season and he certainly looks good for plenty more in the coming days. 

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Meanwhile, Watford are still bottom of the standings in the Premier League after a rescuing a vital point in a 1-1 draw away at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The Hornets are the only team in the division yet to register a single win after nine games and Sanchez Flores clearly has his work cut out in steering the club to safety. 

To that end, bringing in radical reinforcements in January is likely to be the way forward for the Hornets. Having scored just 5 and conceded 21 in the process, their issues at both ends of the pitch have been quite apparent and Watford need to look for some immediate game-changers in the market if they are to preserve their Premier League status. 

Ideally, Watford are unlikely to bring in a new central midfielder in January, given that they already have plenty of depth in that area of the pitch, with the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Etienne Capoue, Domingos Quina, Tom Cleverly and Nathaniel Chalobah all vying for two places in the playing eleven every week. 

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Despite that, however, the utility of completing a deal for a promising starlet like Jose Cifuentes can’t be ruled out altogether. The 20-year-old has been making waves with his rapid development and his links with Man City and Celtic clearly suggest that he has something special about himself.


Cifuentes is still very much in his formative years as a professional footballer and his lack of exposure in Europe certainly makes him a gamble for Watford, who are currently struggling at the wrong end of the table in the Premier League. 

Of course, there are no guarantees that he would be able to make an immediate impact even if the Hornets manage to obtain a work permit for him at the earliest.

On the other hand, he is a really talented player with serious potential and acquiring his services could prove to be beneficial for the club in the long run. 

All in all, Watford should look at him as a smart investment for the future as he would probably need to go through a few loan spells in Europe before evolving into a finished article capable of making an impression in the intense surroundings of the Premier League.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, traveling, etc.
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