Watford CEO and chairman Scott Duxbury says he wants people to believe the Hornets are a "big football club - because we are" and that it can have ambitions to match tonight's opponents Manchester United in the future.

The Red Devils' dwarf Watford's history in both the long and short-term, with little hope of making up the massive gulf in financial clout any time soon.

But after a big summer of spending, Duxbury says the club is happy to invest in players "as long as it is sustainable".

The Hornets broke their transfer record to bring in Andre Gray, but it is Richarlison who has stolen the headlines so far - and according to the chairman, any talk of him going anywhere in January is wide of the mark.

He told the Evening Standard: "We want Richarlison to be here for many more seasons. We are building a very competitive squad, we have no need to sell.

“We believe in the season being a race and that’s why we will never sell a player in January who we believe will help us. Nobody will be sold that we don’t want to. None of the players making an impact now will go.”

Duxbury is clearly desperate for the Hornets to establish themselves as a bona fide long-term Premier League club, something they are well on their way to doing if they can keep up the upward momentum brought in by head coach Marco Silva.

A 17th-placed finish, and six straight defeats to end last season looks a long way away now with Watford only two points off Liverpool and three off Spurs with 13 games gone.

The former West Ham chairman said on the morning of that final defeat, a 5-0 hammering by Manchester City to close the door of a thoroughly unhappy house that Walter Mazzarri built, that the Hornets' basic expectation was always to stay in the Premier League.

Clearly, he and the club have higher ambitions now - even to match the likes of United, if not with their bank balance.

He said: “We never will be as big financially as Manchester United or with the size of the stadium, but the ambition can be as big. 

“There is no check on ambition. I want people to believe that we are a challenger and that we are a big football club — because we are."