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Isaac hasn't been much of a Success at Watford

Tuesday 23rd October 2018
Isaac Success is hitting a brick wall for Watford
Isaac Success is hitting a brick wall for Watford

 Martin Palazzotto, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Watford striker Isaac Success hasn’t had the impact he hoped since returning from a loan spell at Malaga. The 22-year-old was Watford’s club-record signing at £12.5 million in 2016. He spent last season in La Liga in a bid to recapture his form but underperformed in Spain. Little has changed after coming back to England.

Watford transfer immediately went south

The Nigerian international struggled upon moving to London from Granada two seasons past, scoring just one Premier League goal in 2016/17. Injuries played their part. Success was sidelined three prolonged periods due to a facial injury in August and hamstring injuries in October/November and December/January. That lone league goal came against Bournemouth on October 1. He's made 22 appearances since.

After a forgettable debut campaign at Vicarage Road, Success sought familiar surroundings, returning to Spain in the middle of 2017/18. The best form of his career came in La Liga, but things didn’t work out too well at Malaga. A knee injury put him behind the Hornets other strikers in his second campaign. He made just the one appearance while otherwise showing up in the boxscore as an unused substitute. The winter shift to La Rosaleda Stadium failed to yield a goal in 12 La Liga appearances.

He spent the majority of the campaign sidelined after aggravating his pre-existing injury, returning to his parent club a broken player. It's been Humpty-dumpty for Javi Gracia and his coaching staff in 2018/19.

Stiff competition for a starting place

While Success is [at last] fit and available for selection, he’s struggled for form and playing time. Limited to second-half cameo appearances from the bench, he's done little to justify further consideration. 

Troy Deeney and Andre Gray's productivity gives Gracia no reason to offer the struggling African more opportunities. They've contributed five goals between them in the Premier League. Watford sit pretty in seventh after nine games. The Spaniard won't shake his team up unless their form dips.

Success can play on either flank but Watford line up in a narrow formation that relies on central attacking-midfielders rather than winger or wide forwards. He’s getting minutes most weeks but his influence in games is minimal. He may begin thinking about his long-term future if he remains on the periphery.

Gray signing might be the final nail in the coffin

With Success floundering, Gray was signed from Burnley in August 2017. The Manchester United academy product's been a regular up front ever since. He kept Deeney out of the starting line-up at times last season but the duo form an effective partnership this term.

Where does Success go from here? He was signed very young into a difficult league. Misfortune bears some blame for his career stumbling. At Watford, he can only expect more game time if Deeney or Gray picks up an injury and Gracia could well operate with a lone striker to bulk up the midfield should the worst happen. Success can look for his namesake abroad or perhaps test himself in the Championship. Whether he's to blame or not, the Premier League isn't for him.

Watford PL Player Stats
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.


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