With Adam Masina out for the foreseeable future and Danny Rose yet to impress since joining in the summer from Tottenham Hotspur, the Hornets have a left-back headache on their hands. Yet to keep a clean sheet this season, defensive reinforcements are imperative in January if they are to want to have a solid chance at preserving their Premier League status.
Analyzing Reported Watford Transfer Target
Watford Take Aim to Sign Anthony Caci
According to Le10Sport, Strasbourg left-back Anthony Caci is a wanted man. With his contract coming to an end at the end of this season, there is not expected to be much of any chance that the French side retain him.
A host of Bundesliga sides have been vying for his signature since the last summer transfer window. Torino, Udinese, and Watford are now said to have joined the race for his signature. With the player edging for a move away, if Strasbourg do not sell him in the upcoming January transfer window, they will lose their youth product’s services for free.
A January transfer would likely come at a cut-rate price for the 24-year-old who has 16 Ligue 1 appearances this season (and 96 career Strasbourg senior appearances). He recently traveled to the Olympics with the French team, playing the full ninety minutes in all three matches.
Progressive Passer and Durable Defender
Caci will not be the fullback who racks up the assists and goals. However, his wide range of passing is useful at spurring counterattacks and easing the pressure on the backline. Defensively, he is robust and reliable.
When compared to Ligue 1 fullbacks this season, he ranks in the 95th percentile for progressive passes per 90 minutes, averaging 6.31 per match (source: FBREF). His 7.32 long passes completed per match rank in the 97th percentile. His total progressive passing distance per 90 minutes ranks in the 92nd percentile. For through balls and switches of play per 90 minutes, he ranks in the 90th and 95th percentiles respectively. His ranking in the 21st percentile for crosses per 90 minutes and 41st percentile for key passes per 90 minutes shows he prefers to make his impact from deeper-lying positions.
For most tackling statistics, he ranks between the 65th and 80th percentile. However, his pass-intercepting acumen is among the league’s best. Averaging 2.88 interceptions per 90 minutes, he ranks in the 97thpercentile. He is also yet to make an error leading to an opponent shot this season, showing his reliability and composed head, something Watford fullbacks have lacked at times recently.
He is also a defender who could quickly adapt to thrive in Claudio Ranieri’s intense-pressing system. Even though he would need to press significantly more under Ranieri than he currently has to at Strasbourg, when he does press in France, he has a notable successful pressures rate. Succeeding in 35.7% of his pressures, he ranks in the 78th percentile.
A Vicarage Road transfer is still many steps away from happening, but it is worth keeping a close eye on this potential move.