Watford have already signed four central-midfielders in this transfer window, and their shuffle in the center of the park may still not be finished. This leaves current midfielders at the Club, such as Domingos Quina, in a very difficult situation. For the talented youngster, what should the future hold, and what will likely occur?
What Quina’s Watford Career Should Look Like
After signing on deadline day in 2018 for a fee in the region of £1 million, expectations for the former Chelsea and West Ham youngster were high. In his first season at Watford, he impressed whenever given first-team opportunities. In his Hornets’ debut, he scored an outside-the-box screamer in a League Cup clash against Reading. He also scored a wonder-goal in one of his eight Premier League appearances that campaign.
The following season saw the attacking-midfielder play just 18 Premier League minutes. When the Hornets were relegated, his role was expected to increase. For the first half of the season, this held true: he featured in 14 of the Hornets’ first 18 matches post-relegation. However, an injury sidelined him for the time period when Xisco Munoz took the reins, meaning when Quina regained fitness, he was not part of the Spaniard’s plans. A loan to Granada for the second half of the campaign saw him score twice in eight appearances, though he was unable to truly break in as a consistent first-team starter.
This season, expectations remained high, though he has now been omitted from the first two Premier League match-day squads. Still, Xisco and Co. should try to convince the talented 21-year-old to extend his Vicarage Road stay. If he is not part of first-team plans this year, even though he should be included considering he is the Hornets’ only true creative-attacking-midfielder, then a contract extension and loan to a side where he is guaranteed to play consistent starting minutes is imperative.
Simply stated, the Hornets should try to avoid repeating another Ben Wilmot situation, where they let a promising youngster depart when he still could have been used in the first team and will only continue to improve.
The Predicted Outcome
With his contract expiring at the end of the season (although an option-to-extend can be exercised) and Football Insider claiming Bournemouth are interested in securing his services, it might unfortunately be the time that Watford and Quina cut ties. Even though such is not optimal, the stars are aligning for the little-wanted departure to occur. Despite Quina’s creativity, the current tactics Xisco is pursuing do not necessarily call for a player with the Portuguese youth international’s specialties.
If the Hornets do not let him depart and continue to ice him out of the first team, then he will be lost for no profit next summer. Or, even if the optional extension is activated, a transfer would still be at a heavily-discounted price. Gino Pozzo, Scott Duxbury, Cristiano Giaretta, and Co. have undeniably done some tremendous business for the Hornets, though the management of Quina falls under the category of their more questionable decisions.
Watford should be doing all they can to integrate arguably their most creative midfielder into the squad’s rotation. However, as the first couple weeks of the season suggest, such easing in does not seem in the cards.