After just one start in their last 13 games, Watford boss Javi Gracia has admitted that Andre Gray may ‘prefer to change club’ this summer – a player Benitez will have one eye on after being credited with interest in signing him from Burnley last year.
With 10 goals for a newly promoted Burnley side last season (and 25 in the Championship the season before), the Chronicle confirmed last summer that Gray was a striker we held long-term interest in.
As with many deals last summer, it wasn’t to be, with the 26-year-old going on to seal a stunning £18.5m move to Watford.
Almost 12 months later and it’s gone pretty horrible for Gray. He was handed a rare start during Monday’s defeat to Spurs, but he’s generally been watching from the bench over the past few months – with him scoring just four goals all season despite becoming their club record signing in the summer.
Here’s what Watford boss Javi Gracia said about him just last week:
“We will see at the end of the season if he prefers to change club, because he needs to play more and we can speak about it,”
There’s a few reasons why this one might be a no go, but with a striker (or two) top of Rafa’s wish-list this summer and Gray being a player Benitez is clearly a fan of, it’ll be a situation the club are very much aware of.
One concern is his total lack of form since signing for Watford. He seemed quick, explosive and a hard worker whenever I watched him at Burnley last season, however he’s looked incredibly wasteful whenever I’ve watched him this term (case in point being the fact he could’ve had four or five in Watford’s 3-0 win at St James’ last year – yet he only came away with one).
For me he’s a definite improvement on Dwight Gayle, but it’s open for debate just how much better he is.
With that in mind, would he be worth signing? Is he the answer? I’m not so sure, but I’d like to bet that Benitez explores the possibility of bringing him to St James’ at the second attempt this summer.
Expect #NUFC to take another look at Andre Gray this summer. Rafa's been credited with an interest in him over the past 18 months when at Burnley. It's not worked out at Watford & their manager recently said he may leave this summer.
It'd be a risk, but definitely one to watch.. pic.twitter.com/CX6LbLtUf8
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) May 2, 2018