Watford Linked With AEK Athens Winger Once Called “The Best Player” in His League

With the transfer window closing at the end of August, the clock is ticking away for teams to make the final additions to their squads. According to multiple reports, the Hornets might be nearing a deal to sign a player once deemed by former Watford head coach Vladimir Ivic as “the best player in Israel.

Hornets Reportedly Eyeing Move for Levi Garcia

According to Israeli outlet Sport 5, echoing a report from Homme Du Match, Watford have submitted a substantial offer for winger Levi Garcia, with the figure thought to be at least £4 million. Sport 5 suggests AEK Athens may be looking for twice that sum to secure the 23-year-old’s services. Beitar Jerusalem is keeping a close eye on any progress for a deal regarding Garcia as they are set to receive 40% of his sale from the Greek side. 

Garcia joined AEK Athens in the 2020 summer transfer window for a £2 million fee the year after he left Kiryat Shmona for Beitar Jerusalem in a £500,000 move. Numerous other clubs in Europe are reportedly vying for his services, including Levante.

Offers Versatility and Starting Competition if Signed

The Trinidad and Tobago international team player made his professional first-team breakthrough with AZ Alkmaar at the start of 2016. After making 44 Eredivisie appearances, notching three goals and six assists in the process, he made his move to the Israeli top-flight. With Kiryat Shmona, in all competitions, he scored three goals in 22 appearances. 

The following season, with Beitar Jerusalem, the “very fast, dynamic, excellent in one-on-ones, and an ideal player to break through defenses,” as Ivic called him, scored six goals and provided three assists in 33 appearances. With AEK Athens, the raw talent Ivic raved about continued to turn itself into goal-contribution output. In 35 appearances, Garcia scored six times and provided seven assists. 

Despite primarily lining up as an inverted right-winger last season, the left-footed attacker has played the majority of his career as a left-winger. In 93 career appearances as a left-winger, Garcia has scored 14 goals and provided an equal number of assists. As a right-winger, in 52 appearances, he tallied 11 goals and seven assists. He even has found success on multiple occasions at centre-forward, providing three assists and scoring twice in 12 matches in the position (source: transfermarkt).

Not Destined to Happen – Still Worth Keeping an Eye On

Whether a deal to bring Garcia to Watford is actually close to happening, even with the reports, is still hard to determine. Considering the attacking threat Watford showed in their victory against Aston Villa, and with Joshua King and Joao Pedro yet to return from injury, a move for yet another attacker does not seem the most necessary. Perhaps Garcia could be brought in and then loaned out to provide competition for out-on-loan right-winger Philip Zinckernagel for who Ismaila Sarr’s successor will be. If Garcia is to arrive in this transfer window and stay, then minutes for Ken Sema will quickly become scarce. 

Nonetheless, Garcia is an exciting player with lots of raw talent and tremendous potential. A move is likely still a long way away from being completed as things stand, though if the shocking transfer were to be made, the Hornets’ faithful would have plenty to be excited about.

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