On the 6th of January, Watford FC welcomed Samir Caetano de Souza Santos from sister club Udinese on a three-and-a-half year deal. Samir was signed to shore up a leaky Watford defense that has failed to keep a single clean sheet all season. The Brazilian’s arrival from Udinese doesn’t come as a surprise, as players have flowed freely between the two clubs over the years due to the fact that they are owned by members of the same family.
Let’s take a closer look at Samir’s playing style, how he will fit in at Watford, and the value he offers fantasy managers looking to invest in newly-transferred defenders.
Who is Samir?
Samir was born on the 5th of December 1994 in Sao Goncalo, Rio de Janeiro. He burst onto the scene at hometown club Flamengo where he made his senior debut in 2013, winning both the Copa do Brasil and Campeonato Carioca that same season.
Samir went on to make 50 appearances for Flamengo between 2013 and 2015 before deciding to move to Europe. He joined Italian club Udinese on the 18th of January 2016 for £4.5M. Halfway into the season, Samir was shipped to Verona for the remainder of the campaign. He made his Serie A debut for Verona on the 6th of April, a match in which he went on to score the solitary goal to help Verona seal a 1-nil victory.
Samir returned to his parent club at the end of the season, ultimately securing a place in the I Bianconeri starting lineup. He went on to make 147 appearances during his three-year tenure.
Having risen through the Under-20 and Under-21 national teams, Samir received his first call-up to the Brazilian first team in August of 2019 ahead of a series of international friendlies, but unfortunately he ultimately failed to feature.
How Will Samir Fit In At Watford?
A left-footed center back, Samir is adept with the ball at his feet and at stepping out of the defense to move the ball forward. But despite being an excellent ball-playing defender, Samir’s biggest strength might be his excellent defensive timing: The center-back has mastered the act of tackling without fouling. He is also known for his focus, and he rarely switches off or gets caught ball-watching.
Samir’s ability with the ball has also seen him shunted out wide on number of occasions to fill the left back role. In fact, he featured as a left back for Udinese 41 times during his three-year spell at the club. He was also drafted in to feature as a defensive midfielder or left-sided midfielder on a number of occasions. His Brazilian background is evident in his style of play as he finds it easy to beat attackers and help his team spring counterattacks.
Samir’s arrival at Vicarage Road has seen him slot straight into a Watford defense that was badly in need of reinforcement. The Brazilian has been utilized as a left-sided center back in both of the games Watford has played since he joined.
Watford’s recent change of manager from Claudio Ranieri to Roy Hodgson makes predicting Samir’s fantasy prospects a bit complicated. With Hodgson yet to take charge of his first game, the new gaffer’s preferred center-back pairing is still unknown. Watford have no less than six center-backs with only two slots to fill in the team. Therefore, it might be wise to monitor developments under the new coach before adding Samir to your FPL teams.
Watford’s woeful defensive record — they are the only team yet to record a clean sheet in the Premier League this season— doesn’t make for good reading, but the arrival of Hodgson could change things as he has over the years shown that he is capable of building a solid defense.
At a cost of £4.5m, Samir is priced favorably against the Hornets other center-backs, and his ability to score headed goals from set pieces might also increase his attraction if he becomes a crucial part of Hodgson’s first eleven: He scored six goals during his stay at Udinese.
What do you think about Samir? Is he already in your fantasy teams, or will you wait to see how things unfold under Hodgson first? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.