Why Watford should eye cut-price Joe Bennett swoop in January

Back in October, a report from Sky Sports (h/t Wales Online) had claimed that Watford were interested in signing Cardiff City star Joe Bennett before the domestic deadline. However, the left-back ended up staying put in South Wales after negotiations between the clubs failed to reach a positive conclusion.

Profile

Born in Rochdale, Joe Bennett rose through the youth ranks of Middlesbrough and made his senior debut in the Premier League back in the 2008-09 season. He established himself as a key player for the Teessiders following their relegation to the Championship, featuring 92 times in all competitions over four seasons. 

Bennett earned a move back to the top-flight with Aston Villa in 2012 and made 25 appearances in the PL in his debut season at Villa Park. However, he only played in a bit-part role in the following campaigns, spending time on loan at Brighton, Bournemouth and Sheffield Wednesday. 

cardiff city v fulham sky bet championship play off semi final 1st leg scaled
CARDIFF, WALES – JULY 27: Aboubakar Kamara of Fulham competes with Joe Bennett of Cardiff City during the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-final 1st Leg match between Cardiff City and Fulham at Cardiff City Stadium on July 27, 2020, in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The left-back joined Cardiff City in the Championship in 2016 and has been a regular fixture at the back for the Bluebirds over the past four years. Bennett helped the club secure promotion to the PL at the end of the 2017-18 season and was one of the few players to come away with some genuine credit as the Welsh outfit suffered relegation straight back down to the second-tier.

Bennett has amassed 159 appearances for Cardiff City in all competitions, scoring 4 goals and registering 11 assists. 

Bennett would add more depth to the Hornets’ backline

Vladimir Ivic has successfully shoehorned Ken Sema into a left wing-back after failing to get deals over the line for any of his left-back targets in the summer. The Swedish international has been a regular fixture down the left for Watford in the Championship, contributing 4 with assists in 12 league appearances so far. 

Kiko Femenia has also been utilised on the left-hand side of the pitch but the Spaniard has looked at his best when deployed in his natural right-sided role. With fixtures set to come thick and fast during the second half of the campaign, Watford should have a specialist left-back high on their agenda in January.

brentford v cardiff city sky bet championship scaled
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 11: Bryan Mbeumo of Brentford battles for possession with Joe Bennett of Cardiff City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Cardiff City at Griffin Park on December 11, 2019, in Brentford, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Putting things into context, Watford should make a renewed attempt to sign Joe Bennett during the mid-season trading period to add more depth and quality to their backline. The vastly-experienced Englishman ticks the box as a proven performer in the Championship, having amassed a mammoth 245 league appearances in the second tier. 

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Verdict

It is a no-brainer that the inclusion of a seasoned campaigner like Joe Bennett in January would hand a significant boost to Watford’s chances of securing a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The 30-year-old still has plenty to offer and with his contract at Cardiff set to expire next summer, the Hornets would be well within their rights to eye him up for a cut-price fee next month.

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