Andre Gray's situation at Watford explained amid reported interest from Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough have been linked with a move for Watford striker Andre Gray – but what is the player’s situation at Vicarage Road?
Boro have completed four new signings so far this summer, with goalkeeper Joe Lumley, winger Sammy Ameobi, striker Uche Ikpeazu and defender Lee Peltier all joining the Teessiders.
Despite Ikpeazu’s arrival, Boro boss Neil Warnock has recently said he wanted to sign three new strikers before the end of the transfer window - so could that include Gray?
It hasn't really clicked for the 30-year-old forward since his reported £18million move to Watford from Burnley in 2017, with his contract set to expire this summer.
Following reports that Boro are tracking the player, we caught up with James Batchelor, founder of Watford fan channel The Watford Way, to find out more about the situation.
We also asked about Ashley Fletcher’s move from Boro to Watford.
1. What is Gray’s situation at Watford and do you think he’ll be allowed to leave?
JB: “Gray's situation at Watford is currently a very precarious one, we have brought in numerous attacking players including Ashley Fletcher and Dennis. The club would be looking to off-load and Gray could well be one of them.”
2. Why hasn’t it worked out for him at Watford?
JB: “I think for a number of reasons. On the field he has not performed up to the standard his £18million price tag would suggest. Although he has scored important goals, most notably one to send Watford to an FA Cup semi -final, I would not call him prolific and he definitely has a few flaws most notably his off the field issues.”
3. What type of striker is he and what are his strengths and weaknesses?
JB: “Gray is your classic Championship striker. He won't create a goal himself but he thrives on good service, especially balls in behind the defence.
"Pace is his biggest asset and this was evident towards the end of the season when he scored twice against Wycombe playing exactly this way. Give him the service and he will thrive. Don't play to his strengths and he will become isolated and frustrating to watch.”
4. Do you think he’d be a good signing for Boro?
JB: “Yes absolutely, tempting him to move away from London and high wages could be an issue to overcome. However, play to his strengths and he could be easily achieving 15+ goals across a championship campaign.”
5. Finally, Watford recently signed former Boro striker Ashley Fletcher, what have fans made of that move?
JB: “Fletcher has been well received by Watford fans, obviously we expected some of our current strikers to depart the club so Fletcher is more viewed as squad depth rather than each week in the Premier League.
“However, with injuries or transfers that could well change and fingers crossed Fletcher will be firing Watford up the table. I think it's always good when you've got a hungry player looking to prove himself at a higher level, let's hope he can do it at Watford.”