Imrân Louza (mid) Nantes; Emmanuel Dennis (att) Club Brugge; Mattie Pollock (def) Grimsby Town; Joshua King (att) Everton; Ashley Fletcher (att) Middlesbrough; Danny Rose (def) Tottenham; Kwadwo Baah (att) Rochdale; Juraj Kucka (mid) – Parma; Domingos Quina (mid) Granada – end of loan; Cucho Hernández (att) Getafe – end of loan; Kwasi Sibo (mid) UD Ibiza – end of loan
Craig Dawson (def) West Ham; Ben Wilmot (def) Stoke City; Jorge Segura (def) CD América – on loan; Adalberto Peñaranda (att) Las Palmas – on loan; Achraf Lazaar (def) – released; Carlos Sánchez (mid) – released; Jerome Sinclair (att) – released; Pontus Dahlberg (gk) Doncaster – on loan
Watford finished runners-up to Norwich in the Championship last season after conceding the fewest goals (30) in the league. Although their style of play was not the most attractive, they played possession football and kept the highest number of clean sheets (23). It was Vladimir Ivic who started the season in charge of Watford, but he was replaced by Xisco Munoz in December and the Spanish coach led them to promotion one year after they got relegated to the Championship.
Watford signed three forwards this summer in Joshua King, Ashley Fletcher and Emmanuel Dennis, while experienced left-back Danny Rose signed on a free transfer and promising midfielder Imrân Louza joined from Nantes after impressing over two seasons in Ligue 1. Meanwhile, experienced centre-back Craig Dawson and back defender Ben Wilmot departed the club.
Munoz imposed a possession-based style of football on the team and shifted from Ivic’s 4-4-2 formation to a more fluid 4-3-3, following an injury to Troy Deeney back in February.
Compactness in defence has been their main strength, as centre-back Francisco Sierralta stepped up during the season and his emergence coincided with Watford's upturn in form, while right-back Kiko Femenia also improved under Munoz and produced four assists - the most among Watford defenders.
Yet, following the departure of Craig Dawson, Watford should add depth to their defence to be able to compete in the top flight and avoid turning their main strength into a weakness.
Staying out of trouble won’t be easy for Watford and transfer activity will determine whether they manage to secure safety, as they need to sign further defensive recruits this summer.