Watford reviving their interest in this in-form Bournemouth star could save them from relegation

Why signing Philip Billing would usher in some hope for Watford

With relegation threat looming large, bottom-placed Watford should once again reignite their interest in signing defensive midfielder Philip Billing with the January transfer window soon approaching.

According to Sun (23 December 2018, page 61), Watford identified Huddersfield Town’s Philip Billing as a midfield target. Watford are now fighting for survival in the league.

 Philip Billings while playing for Huddersfield Town.
Philip Billings while playing for Huddersfield Town. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, according to a Daily Mail report earlier, Billings chose to move to Bournemouth for £15million in the summer from Huddersfield Town. The latter got relegated after a poor show last season.

For manager Quique Sánchez Flores and Watford, nothing seems to be working as they still remain winless after 11 matches.

This is one of the worst starts ever for the Hornets, who had finished 11th in the league standings last year.

Quique Sánchez Flores
Quique Sanchez Flores needs to make some quick decision to end Watford’s winless streak at the league. (Getty Images)

With many of their attacking players ruled out due to injuries, and shooting boots missing for the current lot, let’s take a closer look as to why Watford should renew their interests in Billings at this time of peril.

Midfield woes

Midfield powerhouse Abdoulaye Doucoure, Englishman Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah mainly feature in Flores’s 5-4-1 formation which includes two deep-lying midfielders.

Abdoulaye Doucoure in action during a Premier League encounter between Watford and Arsenal. (Getty Images)
Abdoulaye Doucoure in action during a Premier League encounter between Watford and Arsenal. (Getty Images)

Not a single midfielder has been included in the club’s top-three performers this season. Doucoure, who has scored one goal, has to be content with fourth place after receiving an average of 6.63.

The remaining have been even worse as Watford have struggled to sort out their midfield crisis.

Billing, meanwhile, has been impressive for Bournemouth, who sit seventh on the table.

The Dane has put up a decent performance this season, assisting once and starting in all 11 of Bournemouth’s league games. He has an average match rating of 7.15, which further holds him in high value.

Bournemouth's Philip Billings (left) during his Huddersfield days.
Bournemouth’s Philip Billings (left) during his Huddersfield days. (Getty Images)

With Chalobah yet to impress and Doucoure a shadow of his past, the 23-year old Billing’s arrival could usher some confidence and energy within the Watford ranks.

On-field displays

With 2.5 interceptions per game, the physically imposing Philip has a better defensive record than Watford centre-back Christian Kabasele, who has 2.3 interceptions per game.  

Billing has been crucial for Bournemouth this year, cutting down passes and dangerous attacks that threaten his team’s defence.  

Watford players celebrating during a premier league game.
Watford players celebrating during a premier league game. (Getty Images)

Billing, a tireless worker on the field, functions as an engine, thereby letting other midfielders find spaces and create chances.

He has spent 945 minutes on the pitch for the Cherries, while for Watford, only goalkeeper Ben Foster (990) and Doucoure (971) have spent more time.

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With doom staring straight at them, anything could decide the Hornets’ fate.

Billing’s addition would indeed be a huge boost to a side struggling to find the back of the net (as their meagre six goals in the league suggest).

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Written by Siddharth Suresh

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