Watford are reportedly lining up a £10m move for West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster. The former England number one was unable to save the Baggies from sliding down into the Championship, but his former employers are hoping the lure of Premier League football can tempt the 35-year-old to leave the Hawthorns.
Foster has openly spoken about his affection for the club where he enjoyed great success during his two season spell on loan at Vicarage Road between 2005 and 2007. The former Manchester United shotstopper was a key component of the Hornets squad which secured promotion to the top-flight in 2006 and was then awarded Player of the Season in the subsequent campaign that followed.
Trying to entice Foster away from the West Midlands’ club will not be easy with Foster becoming an integral part of the setup since joining West Brom, initially on loan seven years ago, before signing permanently in the summer of 2012. Foster has made in excess of 200 appearances for his current club and in his first season (whilst on loan) kept 10 league clean sheets, equalling West Brom’s Premier League clean sheets record.
Foster is settled in the area, content to stay under the leadership of Darren Moore in the second tier of English football and draw on his own know-how to help the Baggies plot an immediate return to the top division. “I’m not too interested in trying to move out to another club,” he said. “I want the club to know that and hope they back it to try and get back up to the Premier League.”
Ageing and inconsistent Brazilian Heurelho Gomes has fallen down the pecking order under Watford boss Javi Garcia with the 37-year-old playing second fiddle to loanee Orestis Karnezis since the turn of the year. With Garcia seemingly happy to offload Romanian Costel Pantilimon to Nottingham Forest following his successful four month period at the City Ground, the surprise capture of Foster is still one of the least expected deals this summer.
Watford shipped 64 goals last year – the third highest of any team in the top-flight. Foster would bring a wealth of experience to a goalkeeper unit who also have Daniel Bachmann and Pontus Dahlberg among their options between the sticks. Both Manchester City and Manchester United are also said to be interested in recruiting the former England international as back-up, but it is Watford that would offer him first-team football.