The 2016/17 Premier League season will be one to forget for all those associated with Watford Football Club.
Although the Hornets enjoyed wins over the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal respectively during the campaign, they ultimately finished one spot above the relegation places in 17th – just six points above Hull City.
Following the departure of Walter Mazzarri, Marco Silva will take charge of a side looking to vastly improve on last season’s disappointments.
Searching for this, Watford announced the signing of highly-rated England U21 midfielder Will Hughes from Derby County for an undisclosed fee on a 5-year contract.
What will Hughes bring to the side and how does he compare to other midfielders looking for a place in the starting 11?
Hughes is a creative centre midfielder who thrives on distributing the ball whether it is keeping possession for his team or playing in a team-mate on goal; he is capable of adapting his creativity on the ball to every situation.
This is shown through his stats from the 16/17 season which show that Hughes had an average passing accuracy of 83%.
When compared to all of Watford’s midfielders, Hughes’ stats are higher than that of Nordin Amrabat (75%), Valon Behrami (80%) and Ben Watson (75%). He is also on par with Etienne Capoue and Roberto Pereyra, with only Abdoulaye Doucoure (87%) above the Englishman having played 16 games more.
From these stats, it is clear to see that Hughes will no doubt be one of Watford’s best distributors of the ball this season. (All stats mentioned above via Squawka)
In terms of creating chances, Hughes managed to create a total of 37 chances for his team-mates, leading to two assists. Although that stat may seem low, given a higher caliber of player that Hughes will be surrounded by at Watford expect his number of assists to increase accordingly when constantly producing chances for the likes of Troy Deeney and Stefano Okaka.
In comparison to the rest of Watford’s midfield in terms of chances created, his stats are superior to that of Behrami (5), Amrabat (30), Doucoure (5), Watson (0) and Pereyra (15) with only Capoue (38) bettering Hughes’ tally. (All stats mentioned above via Squawka)
Hughes is a creative midfielder who can pull strings in midfield, enabling link ups with strikers to happen more frequently during a game and as a result, see an increase in both chances and goals scored.
If Watford keep it a bit tighter at the back this season, combined with the attacking impact that Hughes has to offer there’s no reason why Watford won’t be up there fighting for a top ten finish in the Premier League.