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Barcelona forward close to joining relegated club on a three-year deal

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Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Journalist Fabrizio Romano has confirmed that striker Rey Manaj is close to joining English side Watford on a three-year deal. The 25-year-old striker is expected to be in London tomorrow.

Interestingly enough, Barcelona have decided to reserve a percentage in case of a future sale by Watford of the Albanian.

Manaj has already visited the facilities of the English club and he will be in England now to complete the formalities before joining up with his new teammates. 

As reported by The Athletic, the 25-year-old forward had a meeting with Watford officials a few days back. The player, meanwhile, also revealed that he considered several approaches from different clubs from Spain and Italy.

Manaj arrived in Barcelona in January 2020, joining the Segunda Division B side Barcelona B on a three and a half years contract. He was called up to the main roster by former manager Quique Setien but remained an unused substitute till the end.

He played his bit part with Ronald Koeman at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, getting a decent run-in during the pre-season. Many believed he would become a regular fixture, but Barcelona had other ideas.

In August 2021, he was loaned out to Serie A side Spezia Calcio with an option to make him permanent for €2.7 million. While the 25-year-old made 30 appearances for Spezia, a majority of them came from the bench.

Hence, a return of just five goals did not come as surprise.

Upon returning to Barcelona, it was pretty much clear that there is no place for him in the current team. The 25-year-old simply does not fit into Xavi’s scheme of things, meaning that it is in the best of interest for everyone involved to part ways.

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