Why Watford should look at Jonathan Panzo as one for the future

According to Twitter claims from reputed journalist Nizaar Kinsella, Watford could offer highly-rated defender Jonathan Panzo a route back to English football in the near future. The 20-year-old currently plies his trade with Dijon in Ligue 1 and has attracted interest from Sporting Lisbon and Udinese, who share the same owners as Watford. 

It has been claimed that Udinese could sign the England U-21 starlet and then move him to Watford due to their connection to Vicarage Road through their owners. 

Profile

Jonathan Panzo joined Chelsea at the age of 9 back in 2010 and went on to represent the club at U-18 and U-23 levels. He was snapped up by Monaco in the summer of 2018 even before making a senior competitive appearance for the Blues. Panzo made only 3 first-team appearances for Monaco before rising to prominence during his loan spell at Cercle Brugge last season. 

andorra u21 v england u21 uefa euro under 21 qualifier
ANDORRA LA VELLA, ANDORRA – OCTOBER 07: Jonathan Panzo of England runs with the ball during the UEFA Euro U21 Qualifier between Andorra U21 and England U21 at Estadi Nacional on October 07, 2020 in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old’s impressive displays in Belgium put him on the radar of several clubs across the continent before Dijon eventually won the race for the talented centre-back. Panzo has quickly established himself as a regular starter for the bottom-table outfit in the French top-flight this season, starting 10 league fixtures so far. 

Panzo has represented England across various age-group levels between U-16 and U-21 and was a part of the squad that won the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. 

Watford would benefit from Panzo’s potential

Watford look well on course to challenge for promotion back to the top-flight at the first time of asking after a flying start to the 2020-21 season in the Championship. Vladimir Ivic’s side currently sit 3rd in the standings. While the Hornets have managed just 23 goals in 18 league fixtures so far, they currently boast of the second-best defensive record in the division with just 13 goals conceded.

With that in mind, the Hertfordshire outfit need not push too hard for defensive reinforcements during the mid-season trading period. Watford are already very well-stocked in the centre-back department, with Ben Wilmot, Christian Kabasele, Craig Cathcart, William Troost-Ekong and Francisco Sierralta all competing for places at the heart of the defence.

fbl fra ligue1 nantes dijon
Nantes’ French forward Marcus Coco (L) fights for the ball with Dijon’s English defender Jonathan Panzo during the French L1 football match between FC Nantes and Dijon at the La Beaujoire Stadium in Nantes, western France, on December 13, 2020. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Hornets to bring in some fresh faces with one eye on the future and Jonathan Panzo certainly fits the bill in that regard. The 20-year-old is widely regarded among the best rising defensive talents in France and has already made a positive impression at Dijon in the French top-flight. 

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Verdict

Watford added young right-back Jeremy Ngakia to their ranks in the summer and Jonathan Panzo would be yet another exciting addition to the pool of up and coming talents at Vicarage Road. 

With Cathcart already 31 and Kabasele set to turn 30 later in the campaign, the door remains open for someone like Panzo to establish himself as a first-team regular for the Hornets in the years to come. All in all, Watford offering the 20-year-old a route back to England could be a smart piece of business.

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