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Watford FC strengthened their defensive line on the transfer deadline day by capturing the signature of left-back Marvin Zeegelaar from Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon.
The 27-year old has signed a four-year deal with the Hornets, with the transfer fee being reported as £2.8million by the Daily Mail. The Dutch defender is expected to challenge the likes of Jose Holebas and Miguel Britos at the Vicarage Road.
Here’s the lowdown on the 27-year old defender that Marco Silva has added to his squad.
Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 12 August 1990, Zeegelaar took his first steps in football with the academy of Zeeburgia, before moving to FC Volendam in 2002. Having spent four years at the club, he joined Dutch giants AFC Ajax in 2006.
He made his competitive debut for the club in November 2008 but struggled for regular game time in the coming years and made just 6 appearances. In January 2011, he was loaned to fellow Dutch side SBV Excelsior, where he impressed, registering 3 assists in 16 games. Upon his return, the left-back was sold to Spanish side RCD Espanyol in July 2011, where he was a part of the B team for a year.
In the summer of 2012, Zeegelaar was signed by Turkish side Elazigspor where he made 21 appearances in his debut campaign, before being loaned out to English club Blackpool in September the following year. But after just 2 games in the Championship, the defender returned to his parent club and went on to play 18 times in all competitions.
Zeegelaar was on the move again in the following summer, joining Portuguese top division side Rio Ave, where he became an important member of the team. He finished the 2014/15 season with 2 goals and 3 assists in 37 games, helping the club to a tenth-place finish in the league.
In the following November, Rio struck an agreement with Sporting to sell the left-back in January and he duly departed after making 52 appearances in 18 months. He appeared 13 times for his new club in the second half of the season, scoring once and assisting two. Last season, he featured on 26 occasions for Sporting, in which he managed to notch up 3 assists. However, he wasn’t involved in the ongoing campaign before Watford signed him.
Zeegelaar is yet to represent the Dutch national team, but was called up by the Oranje in November 2016 for matches against Belgium and Luxembourg.
Primarily a left-back, Zeegelaar has been used as a winger on the left flank on a number of occasions throughout his career and has even featured on the opposite flank as well, at times.
Physically strong, with good pace and acceleration, the 27-year old offers a good outlet going forward down the left-hand side. His crossing is quite good and he also possesses strong technical abilities to go along with it. But it his dribbling at speed and passing that stand out the most.
The defensive side of his game needs a bit of work though. Zeegelaar may be a good tackler and he has the strength and the speed to fight off opponents in a one-on-one situation. But he tends to get caught out of position at times and isn’t the most composed player at the back when under pressure.
Left-back was an area of concern for manager Marco Silva at Watford, following red cards to both his primary options – Jose Holebas and Miguel Britos. With the signing of Zeegelaar, Silva can count on a player who he has seen from close quarters in the Portuguese league. The Dutchman will surely give a tough competition to Holebas. He may not be the most eye-catching full-back, but the 27-year old has the ability to be a good signing for the Hornets.