The reappointment of Quique Sanchez Flores at Watford has left few eyebrows unraised, and few heads unscratched.

But while any other club reinstating a previously sacked manager would be a backwards step, there is a sense that Sanchez has unfinished business at Vicarage Road.

The Spaniard guided Watford to a 13th place finish in their first season back in the Premier League in 2015-16, alongside reaching an FA Cup semi-final.

For any other newly-promoted side, this would’ve been a phenomenal season

But the Watford board, who have overseen the sacking of nine different managers since 2011, were not satisfied.

The clause to renew Sanchez’ contract was not activated, and in a similar fashion to Javi Gracia’s departure recently, a seemingly successful Watford manager was shown the door.

With Sanchez offered a second chance at the Hertfordshire based side though, it seems the board were willing to admit their mistake, and quash any previous disagreements.

When Watford managed that 13th place finish in 2016, their fanbase would’ve looked optimistically into the future, dreaming of a top-half finish within the next few years.

However, a lack of stability at the helm has stagnated their progress, and the next three seasons saw three different managers guide them to bottom half finishes.

With Sanchez being brought back into the fold, it is apparent that the Watford board are finally ready to invest in a long-term project.

If they were sticking with their cut-throat policy of chopping and changing managers each season, surely a fresh face would be brought in?

Since Sanchez has been gone, Watford’s squad has strengthened significantly – their recruitment policy has been one of the more successful aspects of their return to the Premier League.

When the former Valencia right-back was last in charge, he successfully deployed Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo at the top of a 4-4-2 – a partnership that produced 27 league goals.

Watford now have Andre Gray in their ranks, a forward who has already formed an understanding with captain Deeney.

If Sanchez can rekindle the partnership that faded under Gracia, he will be one step closer to a top-half finish.

If his front two struggle for goals, it won’t be for a lack of supply. In the 2015-16, Sanchez was forced to use the largely inconsistent Nordin Amrabat on the wing, or shift one of his central midfielders onto the flank.

This season though, he can pick from club-record signing Ismaila Sarr, and former Barcelona wide man Gerard Deulofeu – both of whom are significant upgrades on their counterparts from three years ago.

With Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue, Sanchez also has ready-made midfield duo, should he revert to the same system that worked for him in his first spell at the club.

In short, it is hard to see Sanchez being a failure at Watford – he wasn’t even a failure in his first spell.

If he could take a newly promoted side to 13th place and an FA Cup semi-final in one season, what could he do with an established Premier League squad in several?

The only concern for Watford fans is the record of managers who have returned for a second spell at clubs they have previously managed – they don’t tend to last long.

Kenny Dalglish’s return to Liverpool in 2011 ended in a dismal eighth-placed finish, Jose Mourinho’s second spell at Chelsea ended in dismissal after nine losses in 15 games in 2015, before Guus Hiddink lasted for just half a season when he retook the reigns at Stamford Bridge.

With Sanchez though, he is not returning in a cloud of nostalgia, like Dalglish or Hiddink.

He is simply returning to a project he started himself – and never got the opportunity to complete.


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