Claudio Ranieri effect immediate as Watford ‘complete’ quick first signing

Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou 2021

Claudio Ranieri has wasted little time tinkering with his new Watford squad after Fabrizio Romano revealed a free agent signing has been ‘completed’.

Ranieri was installed as the new Watford manager on Monday after Xisco Munoz was relieved of his duties just seven games into the season. Ranieri became the Hornets’ 13th permanent manager since the Pozzo family took control in 2012.

During his time at Chelsea, Ranieri developed a reputation for being a ‘tinkerman’ regarding his team selections. 

And per trusted transfer guru Romano, he now has a new option in defence from which to choose.

Romano tweeted Cameroon centre-half Nicolas Nkoulou ‘joins Watford as a free agent’. He added a ‘contract has been signed today’, and the player will officially be ‘presented in the next hours’.

Nkoulou, 31, was most recently on the books of Serie A side Torino. He had been a regular starter in Italy since joining from Lyon in 2017 until last year.

Assessing who will be the next Premier League manager to get the sack

Upon expiry of his contract, the 6ft tall veteran had been searching for a new club.

Vicarage Road now seems destined to be Nkoulou’s new home and he could yet have a big say on whether the Hornets can stave off relegation this season.

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Watford maintain advantage after torpedoing Liverpool plan

Liverpool duo Alisson and Fabinho prior to kick-off during the Premier League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Meanwhile, Liverpool have failed with a request to change the timing of their upcoming fixture with Watford, amid their fears over the availability of their Brazilian stars.

The Reds play the Hornets on Saturday October 16, but the schedule for Brazil’s latest set of fixtures has caused concern. Indeed, they play three matches, the last of which kicks off on the evening of Thursday October 14.

Liverpool will end up one of the hardest-hit clubs, should their Brazilian players play the final game against Uruguay. Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino would likely miss the Saturday 12.30pm kick-off against Watford.

Therefore, The Telegraph has now revealed that the Anfield club requested a time change for the fixture last month.

However, the Premier League rejected the idea of switching the game to 7.45pm on October 16.

That is because Watford opposed the move. Hornets officials claimed that, because rights holders BT Sport announced their coverage of the game in July, changing the time with only a few weeks’ notice would prove detrimental to fans.

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