Why Branimir Kalaica to Watford would bolster their defence

As per Sportsmail (h/t Hertfordshire Live), Watford are eyeing up a potential move for Rapid Vienna star Branimir Kalaica in the summer.

Kalaica, 22, came through the ranks of Dinamo Zagreb in his hometown and joined Benfica’s B side in the summer of 2016. Since then, he has been a regular member of the squad and has impressed with the Portuguese outfit’s B team. However, he has made just one appearance for with the first-team.

The youngster has also come through various age-group levels with Croatia and was impressive in the 3-3 draw against England U21 last summer. His impressive performances have also attracted a lot of interest across Europe. Clubs like Leeds United and Celtic are also interested in securing his services, as per the report.

Branimir Kalaica has been in sensational form for Benfica B this season (Getty Images)
Branimir Kalaica has been in sensational form for Benfica B this season (Getty Images)

Watford, meanwhile, have endured a poor campaign and they have been inconsistent despite a change in management.

They are currently in the 17th position in the league standings, just three points over Bournemouth in 18th, and are facing a risk of getting relegated to the Championship. However, despite their league status in the next campaign, the manager should bring in reinforcements if they are to lift themselves and progress in further campaigns.

Kalaica could be a future leader in Watford’s defence

At the moment, the Hornets have just four centre-backs available. Christian Kabasele, Craig Cathcart and Craig Dawson have been regular starters but they have not been consistent and out of form. As a result, the backline has been shaky and they have conceded 53 goals so far, which is poor according to the standards of the Premier League.

The other defender is Adrian Mariappa, who has started in just 14 league games. Moreover, except for Kabasele, all of the other three are 30 years and above and reaching the twilight of their careers. Thus, a young centre-back is a must for the future.

Branimir Kalaica (L) in action against Italy U21 (Getty Images)
Branimir Kalaica (L) in action against Italy U21 (Getty Images)

In that regard, signing Kalaica would help the club secure their backline for the future. The Croatian U21 international has been consistent in the last few years and has impressed with Benfica B side throughout the campaign. And he can be a crucial player for Watford next season if he is able to continue with the fine form.

His inclusion would definitely add depth to Pearson’s squad, whilst also bringing in healthy competition. And, since he is just 22, he has a lot of room for development under the guidance of the English tactician. And there are chances that he can grow into a leader in Watford’s defence in the future if he is able to show consistency.

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With most of Watford’s central defenders ageing, it is the right time for the manager to rope in young centre-backs for the future. And given Kalaica’s good run of form, he can be a good addition to the squad. He has a lot to offer in the future and the Hornets must make sure to enjoy his services by luring him to Vicarage Road this summer.


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