Watford Receive Boost In Hunt For £3 Million-Rated Title Winner

Watford’s hunt for Fode Ballo-Toure has received a significant boost today, with news that he has been relegated to AC Milan’s reserve side for the upcoming season.

The news that the 27-year-old is surplus to requirements will likely boost the Hornets, as they’ve been heavily linked with him this summer. The left-back has experience in England after a loan spell with Fulham and is sure to be available for transfer.

The announcement was made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a club advisor, speaking at a press conference to unveil the new manager, Paulo Fonseca. He referred not only to the Watford target but also to former Liverpool striker Divick Origi.

“Origi and Ballo-Touré have been called up, but they will play for Milan Futuro because they are not part of the first team project,” he said, as reported by Tutto Mercato Web.

It was reported last week that Watford had made an approach for the defender, who has appeared 16 times for Senegal. They’re unlikely to face competition from Fulham, with the player struggling to make an impression at Craven Cottage. He appeared just six times during his loan spell, falling behind Antonee Robinson in the Cottagers’ pecking order.

Ballo-Toure came through the youth ranks at Paris St Germain but moved to Marco Bielsa’s Lille in 2017. After two years and 47 outings, he headed to Monaco before penning a contract with AC Milan in 2021. His time at the San Siro has not been happy – despite helping them to a Serie A title in 2022, he has appeared only 20 times in two seasons in the league.

He was an AFCON winner in 2021 with Senegal but has only appeared once in two years for his country, reflecting his lack of first-team football. The player is rated at £3 million by Transfermarkt but was once valued as high as £12 million. It’s still unclear what asking price Milan have put on him, given that he cost them €5.4 million (£4.6 million) when he moved from Monaco.

Ballo-Toure could replace Jamal Lewis at Vicarage Road, who was on loan from Newcastle United last season. The Hornets had an option to make the move permanent this summer, but after a disappointing 15th-place finish, they decided against doing so.

Writer’s View

There’s no clearer message in football than a player being sent to the reserves, and it has even more of a sting when it is a forthright figure such as Zlatan doing the banishing. He’s not a man to go back on his word, and he’s seemingly closed the door on the defender at Milan.

That’s great news for Watford. The list of clubs Ballo-Toure has appeared for underlines his potential, and he should be a strong addition for Watford in an area of the field that needs strengthening.

Having spent time in London already, settling shouldn’t be an issue, so the transfer seems all likely to go ahead. All Milan needs now is a bid, as the player has a year left on his deal.

 

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