When the Watford manager was asked whether he knew that the way of working this summer seemed far removed from previous transfer windows, he said he only felt that there was total alignment between all those involved.
“I wasn’t here last season so I can’t judge what happened or comment on what people have said,” he reflected.
“What I do know in this last transfer window we were aligned on our decisions, and I never felt like anyone was trying to force through a decision that was not made by the manager.
“We had to consider what we could pay and how much the club wanted to spend. On the other hand, we had to judge the quality of the players.
“We never took a decision where someone didn’t agree with the choice of player. We were all on the same page.
“It was always a case that we would say how about we take this player, and if one of us said no then the deal didn’t happen.
“Even as manager, as the number one, there may be a player you think you want but for other reasons it doesn’t happen. Not because the club said no but for financial reasons that we all agreed upon.
“The club always tried to work on the players we wanted, but if it didn’t work out then we would find another solution.”
He gave a flat no when it was suggested that he might have had signings forced upon that he didn’t want, as had clearly happened to previous head coaches in the last couple of years.
“No, not at all,” he said, adding: “And if we didn’t sign a player it was only due to the financial situation or my judgement. From day one we built a bond and trust with the Sporting Director and the board.
“I trust the board and I trusted them through the transfer window. They would say to me that if we could get this player in this package then we can do it. If it goes over that package, then it would be more difficult, and I would agree and be fine with that.
“Everything we tried to do, if it was possible we did it – and if it wasn’t possible then I wasn’t frustrated because the communication was clear and transparent, and I was always involved. I never had the feeling that anything was happening behind my back.
“I was always involved in speaking with players, speaking with agents, and there was always clear communication.”
There are further instalments of this in-depth interview with Valerien Ismael to come over the next few days, including:
• How the recruitment process of players worked during the summer transfer window
• Why it took so long to find a new No.9
• How Ismael turned down the chance to sign a Mogi Bayat striker
• His views on Cristiano Giaretta and their working relationship
• Why he wants every player in his squad to understand they are not above being dropped
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