When Quique Sanchez Flores was let go out of the blue one week ago, there was plenty of surprise throughout the Premier League. The Spaniard had stabilized a tumultuous position and led the Hornets to a very respectable 13th in their first season following promotion.
Now we know why the move was made.
Saturday, the club announced the appointment of former Inter and Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri, signing him to a three-year deal. It will be the Italian’s first foray outside of his home country in both his playing and managerial careers.
“Walter has been the target of a number of approaches for his services, so we’re delighted to secure him as Head Coach here at Watford,” said Watford CEO Scott Duxbury in the club’s official release. “We’re thoroughly looking forward to working with such a highly-regarded coach, with the progress and development of the club always remaining the highest priority.”
Mazzarri won the Coppa Italia with Napoli in 2012, which he followed up by leading them to the Champions League with a second-place finish in Serie A the next year. That led to his appointment at Inter, where the sinking Italian giants hoped he could be their savior, but he was sacked November 2014, unable to recover the club and leaving them ninth in the table. He has since been out of management.
Watford has had plenty of Italian ties since Giampaolo Pozzo and his son Gino took over the club in 2012. They were the cause of new loan rules across the English leagues after securing a whopping nine players on loan from Serie A club Udinese in the 2013-14 season, which the family also owns, along with Spanish club Granada.