According to a recent report from The Times, Watford manager Javi Gracia is close to agreeing a new deal with the Premier League side. The 48-year-old took over from the sacked Marco Silva at Vicarage Road back in January of this year and did a fine job steering the Hornets away from the bottom three, while he has also masterminded an impressive start to the 2018/19 season as well.
And reports suggest that the former Malaga and Rubin Kazan manager has agreed a new three-year deal to remain in charge of the Hertfordshire-based outfit which, given the instability surrounding managers in recent years, appears to be a sign of the changing times at the progressive top tier club.
Ultimately, ever since Slavisa Jokanovic led Watford back to the Premier League in 2015, their hasn’t been a great deal of continuity regarding the managerial position at the top-flight club – Jokanovic didn’t even get the chance to manage the Hornets in the top tier.
In fact, Gracia is the fourth manager to take charge of Watford since Jokanovic left in the summer of 2015, with Quique Sanchez Flores and Walter Mazzarri lasting a season but no more, while Silva managed just 24 games in the hotseat before he was relieved of his duties at the start of the year.
Remarkably, Gracia was the first Watford boss since Giuseppe Sannino back in 2014 to retain his job over the summer, which itself was clearly a step in the right direction, and the Hornets hierarchy have been repaid for the faith shown in the Spaniard given his team are currently eighth in the Premier League table with 19 points from their opening 11 matches.
Thus, the sheer fact that Gracia remained in charge over the summer was itself indicative of the changing times at Vicarage Road, but to now reward him for his fine work with a three-year deal, in a job that has seen much chopping and changing in recent years, appears to be a sign that the only way is up for the progressive Hertfordshire club.
Yes, the Hornets made a fine start to last season under Silva before things unravelled during the autumn and winter months, resulting in his departure come the New Year, but there have already been signs that that is unlikely to be the case this term given how well they have already bounced back to disappointing results.
The Hornets may have been humbled 4-0 at home by Bournemouth a few weeks ago which was their third defeat in four following four wins to start the campaign, but Gracia’s men responded with back-to-back successes against Wolves and Huddersfield Town, keeping clean sheets in both games.
And while Watford fans would have been disappointed with the defeat at Newcastle United at the weekend, Gracia’s team have shown already that they can bounce back following adversity, and one wouldn’t bet against them doing just that against lowly Southampton at the weekend.
Ultimately, Gracia has more than earned a new long-term deal to remain in charge at Vicarage Road, which itself is indicative of the changing times at a club which appears to be very much on the up.
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