Javi Gracia has been sacked as Watford manager – with ex-boss Quique Sanchez Flores a shock contender to replace him.
This is as a result of a poor start to the season that leaves Hornets rock bottom of the Premier League with just one point from their opening four games.
And the news was confirmed by the club on Saturday afternoon in a short statement that was released during England’s game against Bulgaria.
Chief executive and chairman Scott Duxbury confirming: ‘Javi has represented Watford with great dignity and will always be deserving of our fullest respect for his achievements.’ But in a dramatic twist, former manager Flores is in line for an unexpected return following Gracia’s departure.
The Spaniard is out of work after after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenua earlier this summer following a short stint in charge.
Flores, it is understood, is open to returning to Vicarage Road. The 54-year-old was a popular figure at Watford’s Hertfordshire training complex following his one season in charge at the club during the 2015/16 campaign.
He led the team to an FA semi-final and a comfortable mid-table position in their first season back in the top-flight after promotion.
Gracia was well aware aware that his job was under threat following a dreadful run of results that date back to the end of the last season.
Watford have lost nine out of their last 13 top-flight games, though that poor sequence was tempered by their run to the FA Cup final, where they eventually lost to Manchester City 6-0.
Members of the club’s top brass often visit the club’s HQ, but there is said to have been an unease about their current plight from chiefs in recent weeks.
It is understood Gracia maintained the backing of the majority of his playing squad – while there is acknowledgement that Troy Deeney’s absence due to injury has hampered the team’s chances.
But having shown their willingness to sack managers in the past, Gracia’s time is up.