Watford and Aston Villa agree £25 million transfer fee for Ismaila Sarr

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Written by Martin Graham | August 22 2022

Aston Villa have reached an agreement to sign Watford’s Senegalese winger Ismail Sarr, according to the latest reports.

It took them three months, but the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations champion was moved from the club. Ismail Sarr will join Emmanuel Denis as the latest to leave Vicarage as the Hornets seek to rebuild their squad from scratch by drawing on their most valuable players.

However, Aston Villa will have to move quickly, as Sarr still has a number of suitors discussing with his entourage about a move. Watford also gave him leave to shake off his future by removing him from their squad for the weekend’s game.

But the Watford manager claimed the absence was related to fitness. He told the press ahead of the Premier League game against Preston North End on Saturday: “The situation is very clear. We had no offer from anyone. That is where it is in terms of any kind of transfer speculation.

“Where he is in terms of fitness is part of yesterday’s session, which is good. So we will continue to monitor and evaluate him until Saturday’s game.”

Sarr’s agreement between Villa and Watford is said to include additions that could raise the final fee to £30m.

Newcastle United are also inquiring about Joao Pedro, who joined the Hornets in January 2020 for an undisclosed fee. Two offers by Magpies have been reportedly rejected, but they are a new £30m bid for Pedro to Watford.

If the deals for Sarr and Pedro are carried out, Watford will lose every player from their offensive line from last season in the Premier League. Joshua King, Andre Gray, Cucho Hernandez and Emmanuel Denis have all received around £25m in fees that have already been reinvested.

Their substitutes have helped them start off strong in the tournament as well, with two wins and three draws from five matches so far in the tournament.

Aston Villa’s slow start

It’s still early days, but Villa hold a tough start to the 2022/23 Premier League. One singles win over Everton from their opening three wins leaves them 13th ahead of a tough run of matches.

In their next five matches, Villa will play West Ham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Leeds and Southampton and they could find themselves in a much lower position if they do not hold their titles together.

Sarr’s arrival is expected to give Steven Gerrard an extra bite in attack as he tries to shake up his team that is currently struggling to score goals, which is very different from them.

Martin Graham is a sports writer for MFF