A solid loan spell for M’Baye Niang could prompt Watford to sign the youngster
After a rocky start to the season with AC Milan saw M’Baye Niang sent on loan to Watford. He has since started 10 matches, scoring two and assisting two in that time. He has made a seamless transition to the pace of the Premier League and fits quite well in the Watford system.
Niang frequently plays as an outside left midfielder in the 352 formation Watford often use. His speed and dribbling skill make him a menace down the wings and a handful for most fullbacks.
Since he prefers his right foot, he often cuts inside to shoot or cross into the box. Niang certainly enjoys having striker Troy Deeney in the middle, with both of his assists going to Watford’s top scorer.
Niang leads Watford in successful dribbles per game and is also second in shots per game, averaging 2.5. The self-confidence he has makes him a very tough player to play against. It is clear that the switch of scenery has been a big factor in improving to Niang’s season. The decision Watford will have to make soon is whether they want to sign the young Frenchman.
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Milan and Watford agreed on a loan deal until the end of the season for Niang. Watford also has an option to buy the player at the end of the season before he returns to Italy. The price, set at £13.5 million, is not cheap.
Where Niang fits at Watford
Watford has five forwards out on loan until the end of the season. Combined with the signings of Zarate, Okaka and Isaac Success, Watford have a great deal of attacking options. Spending the money on Niang would mean sending the same amount, if not more attackers on loan the following season.
AC Milan have been getting along well without Niang, so they would not be at a total loss should the youngster decide to join Watford. Suso has stepped up his game considerably and Bacca is still a solid goal scoring threat. Bringing back Niang would only add depth to their squad.
It seems that if Watford was to sign Niang that he would have to continue to start week in and week out. He would need to become a much more centralized figure in the squad and also get a more attacking role in the team. He has the ability to play striker, so pairing him up top with Troy Deeney would be a viable option. For now, though, all Niang can do is continue his solid play until the end of the season, when a final decision can be made about his future.