Javi Gracia has signed a new long-term contract with the potential of remaining as head coach at Watford until 2026.

A new deal for the Spaniard has been on the cards for some time although the length of the contract is unexpected.

Gracia has signed a four-and-a-half year deal committing him to the Premier League club until 2023 with the option for a further three years.

He is the first Watford coach to sign an extended deal since Malky Mackay in 2011.

Watford chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury told the club website: “We are delighted that Javi has agreed an extension to his contract.

“From day one it was clear that Javi worked well with us and shared our vision of how to achieve success for Watford Football Club, and we are looking forward to continuing that work together for many years to come.”

Gracia said: “I am very happy to extend my contract. I am very proud in this moment to be part of this club and to belong here for more seasons.”

He added: "I think in this moment, this team is doing a lot of things well, but they know that being demanding, we can improve and compete better day-by-day. That's our target, to be demanding and to be ambitious.

"We don't know what target we can achieve, but I believe in this group of players and I think we will be able to give our supporters something to enjoy with our play and our results as well."

Gracia was appointed as Watford head coach in January after replacing Marco Silva and successfully steered the Hornets to safety last season.

He guided the club to their best ever start to a top-flight campaign this season during a run which saw them defeat Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road.

Watford are currently ninth in the Premier League and only two points off sixth place ahead of a trip to Leicester City this weekend.