Watford look set to keep hold of giant shot-stopper Costel Pantilimon following recent speculation that he was a transfer target of relegated Aston Villa.
The Romanian set to thwart Villa
With their former number one Brad Guzan prized away to return to the Premier League with newly promoted Middlesborough, Roberto Di Matteo's Villains are searching for the American's replacement as they seek to bounce back to the top flight of English football at the first attempt. Romania's Pantilimon was thought to be that man with a reported £2 million deal in the making.
Yet sources suggest that the 29 year old is set to remain at Vicarage Road as understudy to Heurelho Gomes. Pantilimon only arrived in North London during the last transfer window in January on a free deal from Sunderland. He has yet to start a Premier League game for Watford, but did manage four starts in an FA Cup campaign that took them all the way to the semi-final at Wembley. That run included a quarter-final where the goalkeeper only found out he was playing five minutes prior to kick-off due to a paperwork error when former manager Quique Sanchez Flores named the team.
"I will fight for my position"
After leaving Manchester City due to Joe Hart keeping him out of the spotlight, and then moving from Sunderland after Sam Allardyce dropped him following a number of errors, it remains to be seen how long the experienced campaigner will remain at Watford if he cannot remove 35-year-old Gomes from the number one spot.
However Pantilimon has made no secret of his desire to try and replace the Brazilian in the pecking order, claiming "Gomes is a good keeper" and that "He's a nice guy and I will fight for my position."
With Gomes entering the latter stages of his career and young Giedrius Arlauskis not quite ready for Premier League football, opportunities could arise for Pantilimon in the near future at Vicarage Road.