The thought of Watford registering a player from Sean Dyche might seem farfetched given the history between the two. But that was exactly what the Hornets’ were trying in their pursuit of Ben Gibson.
Dyche was Watford manager between 2011 and 2012, steering the club into a frankly miraculous 11th-place end, their highest since 2007/08. However, it was not enough to save the former defender from the sofa as the Pozzo family purchased out Laurence Bassini that summer.
Both parties have done quite well for themselves because Dyche, who made 78 appearances in yellow before returning as Under-18s supervisor and later assistant, has always been very magnanimous about his departure.
In the time of this split, everyone in agreement. It would not have worked. Dyche, very much of the older school, both as a guardian and manager, would have desired autonomy on transfers. But the Pozzos were constantly likely to ferry gamers in from both other clubs, Udinese and Granada.
In December, Gino Pozzo appointed his first English manager in seven decades of ownership as Nigel Pearson triumphed Quique Sánchez Flores; the former Leicester City boss cut from similar cloth to Dyche.
It’s a no-frills strategy and that’s just what Gibson would bring to Vicarage Road.
That despite the fact Gibson has made only one Carabao Cup appearance for the Clarets this year.
Burnley are working on a deal for another Boro defender, Dael Fry, which might free Gibson up to depart Turf Moor.
“We will wait and see,” Dyche stated when asked about the defender’s future. “Like every participant, history suggests that they do leave us at a certain stage, all of them, even those where I said’no’, they leave when that figure strikes a figure.
“I’m not going to begin so I’m not going to begin making big statements about individuals definitely being here and all that.”
In accordance with The Athletic, Watford aren’t hell-bent on registering up a central defender this month but might alter their stance for the ideal player.
Christian Kabasele has impressed because Pearson’s appointment despite his picking up his second red card of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers although the much-maligned Craig Dawson has thrown off the jitters which blighted his early weeks as a Hornet to resemble a continuous top-flight defender.
However, Watford has the seventh-highest anticipated goals against (xGA) metric in the Premier League this year with the chances they have faced worth 33.89 goals over the course of the campaign up to now.
So, would Gibson be an update on Watford’s present central defensive alternatives?
It is impossible to make a decision based on his information. The Teesside native has made only one League Cup appearance this year, a 3-1 defeat against League One’s Sunderland and mustered just one Premier League start since moving to Burnley on Boxing Day 2018.
Whether tarnished by this aberration or not, Gibson was afforded two run-outs before the year’s end, both from the FA Cup, the second of which was a 5-0 drubbing, now by Manchester City.
Injuries have not helped Gibson’s cause but in a season where skipper Mee has dropped below his previous criteria, there has been no question of the former Middlesbrough captain coming to the group.
It’s a relatively straightforward bit of defending but that is precisely the sort of proactive, no-nonsense centre-half the Hornets could perform with.
In actuality, it’s the type of Dyche-like defender Watford’s hierarchy believed they had signed when Dawson joined from West Bromwich Albion at a £4million deal in the summer.