Back in the January transfer window of 2013, Watford secured a deal to bring Fernando Forestieri to the club on a permanent basis.
The attacker had shone on loan at Vicarage Road in the first half of the 2012/13 campaign following the takeover of the club from the Pozzo family, what with the Udinese ace one of several players from the Italian outfit to join the Hornets on a temporary basis at the start of the season.
Yet 28-year-old Forestieri became the first of those loan signings to pen a permanent deal with Gianfranco Zola’s men, a move which unsurprisingly thrilled several Watford fans on Twitter…
@watfordfcsays happy days are ahead. For the first time in many years it actually feels GOOD to be a Watford supporter
— Nic Hill (@tenhourslater) January 14, 2013
@watfordfcsays great news well done woody
— tony stephenson (@mrtony2009) January 14, 2013
@watfordfcsays Great news!!!! Now to get Vydra, Abdi, Pudil, and Ekstrand signed up as well!!!!!!
— Lesley-Anne Simpson (@Ellaye117) January 14, 2013
@watfordfcsays woohoo!! Great news!
— Louise Stevens (@L14WFC) January 14, 2013
@watfordfcsays That’s great news!
— Paul Cook (@cookindustries) January 14, 2013
@watfordfcsays fab player, good choice to buy him!
— Rob (@RobertJA07) January 14, 2013
@watfordfcsays great news coyh
— scott norris (@scottywfc) January 14, 2013
And given just how influential Forestieri was in helping pave the way for Watford’s return to the Premier League as part of the Pozzo revolution, these Hornets supporters were right to be left cooing over his permanent arrival little under six years ago.
Ultimately, the takeover of the Pozzo family saw several players from Udinese and Granada, the two clubs they also owned, make the move to Vicarage Road, with the likes of Almen Abdi, Ikechi Anya, and Matej Vydra, to name but a few, joining Forestieri in making a temporary switch to the Hertfordshire-based outfit.
And while the vast majority of those additions played a key part in helping Zola’s side finish third in the Championship that season, few were as influential as 28-year-old Forestieri, whose eight goals and ten assists in just 28 league appearances underlined his second tier credentials, at the same time played a vital role in their run to the play-offs.
And while he wasn’t able to inspire them to a top-flight return, eventually losing to Crystal Palace in the final at Wembley, the former Italy youth international produced the goods the season after as well with seven goals and six assists for the Hornets, albeit they weren’t able to replicate a promotion challenge in ending up 13th in the Championship table.
Nonetheless, Forestieri was proving himself to be a key cog in the Watford team, only for his game time to reduce somewhat in the 2014/15 season, mustering just 24 Championship appearances for the Hornets in their run to second place in the table, and thus an automatic return to the Premier League.
However, despite only starting on ten occasions that term, the 28-year-old still had a big say in Watford’s success given he scored five goals and laid on six assists for the club, equating to a direct contribution every 103 minutes – that’s an impressive record for an attacker in the notoriously difficult Championship.
Yet that lack of regular football was a sign of things to come given the Hornets sanctioned his permanent departure to Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 2015, thus leaving the club with 21 goals and 23 assists to show for his 92 appearances.
So while Forestieri never got the chance to turn out in the top-flight for the Hertfordshire-based outfit, he played a key part in helping them get there in the first place – he may not have been the new owners’ first signing, but he was the first to pen a permanent deal at the club as the Pozzo revolution began.
And based on the excited reaction of Watford supporters at the time, it’s a masterstroke that certainly helped pave the way for the club’s return to the Premier League.
Watford fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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