Pape Gueye confirms he will not join Watford, despite Hornets announcing deal in April

In a bizarre twist, soon-to-be free agent Pape Gueye has today released a statement, confirming that he will not be joining Watford this summer.

Watford switch

Gueye, a 21-year-old defensive midfielder, has emerged as one of French football’s standout youngsters this season.

After first beginning to showcase his talents across limited senior minutes in 2018/19, the Le Havre man, who has spent his entire career to date on the books of the Normandy-based outfit, subsequently exploded onto the scene with a number of standout displays to this point in the current campaign.

Before the season was curtailed by the COVID-19 outbreak, Gueye had managed appearances in all but 3 of his side’s Ligue 2 outings.

The Frenchman has also featured for Les Bleus at both U18 and U19 level.

As such, with Gueye’s contract with Le Havre due to expire this summer, rumours of interest on the part of some of Europe’s top clubs had inevitably begun to circulate over recent months.

Arsenal were one outfit named as keen suitors of the midfielder earlier this year.

This was until late in April, though, when, in something of a bolt from the blue, one of the Gunners’ Premier League rivals announced a deal for Gueye.

The club in question were Watford, who released an official statement, confirming that the 21-year-old had put pen-to-paper on a 5-year deal at Vicarage Road, ahead of his arrival in July.

Watford miss out

Just days later, however, the Hornets’ deal for Gueye was bizarrely thrown up in the air.

This came after the Frenchman’s agent confirmed that he and his team were looking into ‘irregularities’ in Gueye’s Watford contract, which was signed under the watch of his former representatives:

‘We are questioning a few things regarding possible irregularities around the signing of his contract,’ Pierre-Henri Bovis explained during an interview with L’Equipe.

This was followed by the revelation that Gueye had undergone a secret Watford medical in June of 2019, an illegal move which threw his Vicarage Road switch into doubt.

And, as outlined above, a full 2-and-a-half months after the Premier League outfit confirmed Gueye’s signing, the midfielder has announced that he will not be making the move to Hertfordshire.

In a statement sent to L’Equipe this afternoon, Gueye moved to ‘denounce the circumstances which surrounded’ his signing of a pre-contract with Watford, before confirming ‘the end of all contractual link’ with Nigel Pearson’s men:

‘First of all, I would like to thank Le Havre. After eight years at the club, it’s time to turn the page. On the evening of June 30, I will leave the club that formed me. I thank all the members of Le Havre for their support and their confidence. Thank you of course to the loyal supporters, always present, who knew how to carry the team. For me, the future is still uncertain. My fault in this story is to have trusted a person who advised me badly. I warn my colleagues about the abuses they could be subject to regarding contract signatures. I am not the first and unfortunately I will not be the last. I wanted to denounce the circumstances which surrounded the signature of a contract with Watford and what I consider to be irregularities directly with their representatives. After numerous discussions, I note to this day that no administrative process concerning me has really been undertaken. Consequently, and considering that the contract has not yet taken effect, I take note of the end of all contractual link with the club of Watford.’


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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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