Watford’s Tommy Smith is expected to leave Watford before the close of the transfer window and it appears Newcastle United may be interested in the player.
Watford’s Tommy Smith – boyhood Newcastle fan
It seems that Newcastle are looking to hijack the 29 year-old midfielder’s move to Reading.
A deal was expected to be completed this week to take Smith to Watford, but Reading have not yet come up with an acceptable fee, and now a “top-end Championship club”, believed to be Newcastle are in for the player.
Smith recently turned down a £1.8M move to Sheffield United, because he does not want to move his family, so it’s unlikely he would want to move to Newcatsle, if that news is true.
But Smith was a Newcastle United fan as a boy which may influence his decision should a Newcastle bid be accepted, anmd of course he would get better money at Newcastle than reading too.
Watford boss Malky Mackay confirmed that no bids yet have been received for the 29-year-old:
“There has been no bids at the moment for Tommy Smith but there has been an enquiry from a top-end Championship club.”
“Right now he is involved in the trip to Sheffield United and is part of the squad for that game and is preparing like the rest of the players.”
“There has been speculation on his situation for weeks now and he has remained an excellent professional to deal with and there has been no change in his attitude towards the club.”
Watford are trying to reduce their wage bill becasue the club’s Premier League parachute payments are coming to an end this summer.
Smith, who is 5’8″ tall, started his career as a striker but now plays on the right wing, and he could be a replacement for Damien Duff, should the Irishman move to Fulham or Wolves.
Smith is in the final year of his contract at Watford, and chairman Jimmy Russo has suggested it is unlikely he will sign a new deal at the club.
Russo told BBC Three Counties Radio:
“The problem we have with Tommy is that he is one of the higher earners at the football club. That’s been well documented.”
“That level of commitment would be financially outside the model that we have introduced for the football club to enable stability and not be calling for another rights issue, as has happened on several occasions in the past few years.”
“I’ve always said that the business has to stand up on its own two feet. I’m not prepared to go to banks and institutions to borrow money and we have got to recognize what we are at Watford FC.”
“We’re not Premier League. We’re probably 30th to 35th in ratings in this country based on gates etcetera.
“If there isn’t enough money being generated through the turnstiles and the media then the only other form we have is to revert to sell the odd player or a player every year in order for us to meet the wages and trade in this division for the Premier League in the future.”
Tommy started his career at Watford in 1997 and then joined Sunderland and Derby County before returning to Waford in 2006. He played once for the England U21 side.
Tommy has played a total of 271 times for Watford and scored 58 goals.
Smith could be one of the players Newcastle move for next week, as they still need to bring in their first new player of the transfer season with just 17 days to go.