Watford parting ways with their 32-year-old veteran star would be the ideal decision for all parties


Why Watford parting ways with Etienne Capoue would be a fair deal

According to claims from French outlet RMC Sport (h/t The Sun), Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue has agreed to join Villarreal on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January. 

As per the report, the Hornets have ironed out a deal with the La Liga side for the Frenchman to depart Vicarage Road next month. It has been claimed that Capoue will arrive in Spain on Sunday to complete the intricate details of the transfer.

Villarreal are looking at the 32-year-old as a potential replacement for Vicente Iborra, who is likely to be out for an extended period after suffering an ACL injury. 

Capoue, who rose to prominence in France with Toulouse, initially moved to England with Tottenham in 2013 for a fee of £10million. However, he struggled for game time in North London, starting only 19 times in the Premier League for the Lilywhites over two seasons. Capoue eventually made the move across the capital to newly-promoted Watford for £8million in 2015.

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WATFORD, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Etienne Capoue of Watford during the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and AFC Bournemouth at Vicarage Road on October 24, 2020 in Watford, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

The former 7-cap French international established himself as a key player for the Hornets in their Premier League years. Capoue started more than 30 league fixtures in all but one of his five seasons at Vicarage Road in the top-flight.

The central midfielder has racked up 181 appearances for Watford in all competitions, registering 8 goals and 14 assists in the process.

Capoue was named Watford’s Player of the Year for 2018-19 as the Hornets narrowly missed out on a European spot, finishing runners-up to Man City in the FA Cup. He was one of the few bright sparks as the Hertfordshire outfit suffered relegation to the Championship at the end of last season. 

Watford will certainly miss an experienced midfield operator like Etienne Capoue in their bid for promotion back to the Premier League. However, with the Frenchman not featuring as a regular starter in the Championship this season, letting him depart in January wouldn’t be a bad option. 

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WATFORD, ENGLAND – JULY 07: Etienne Capoue of Watford speaks with Nigel Pearson, Manager of Watford as he is substituted off the pitch during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Norwich City at Vicarage Road on July 07, 2020, in Watford, England. (Photo by Matt Dunham/Pool via Getty Images)

Capoue featured sporadically under former boss Vladimir Ivic before returning to the starting XI for the Boxing Day win over Norwich City. But Watford already have enough options in the middle of the park to cover for the departure of the veteran. With Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes and James Garner all in the ranks, the Frenchman’s departure wouldn’t deal a massive blow to the Hornets. 

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It’s completely understandable that a player of Capoue’s calibre wants to play top-flight football. A move away from Vicarage Road should allow him the opportunity to realise his career objectives, with Capoue nearing his twilight at 32. Watford also need to start planning for the future with younger players and getting Capoue off the books would also help lower the club’s wage bills.