Filippo Giraldi has claimed that Ismaila Sarr is "deciding" the Championship for Watford this season, but that he was close to leaving for Manchester United last summer.

The former technical director explained that he was deep in negotiations with United during the 2020 summer window, but that both sides failed to come to an agreement.

Speaking to the Here We Go podcast, Giraldi said the Hornets were lucky to have kept the Senegal international, who has nine goals and nine assists this season.

“We were extremely close, I was personally negotiating with them," he said.

“We weren't able to reach an agreement. And I think Ismaila is very young, he will arrive for sure.



“He missed probably an opportunity, but I think also for his football to stay here and get those goals and assists, he's deciding the league.

“I think for Watford in the condition they are at the moment it's lucky he stayed."

Giraldi went on to talk about what Sarr has to offer and claimed Watford have to make the most of him while they have him at their disposal.

“I love Ismaila because he has the ability to affect the game every time he plays, and that's quite rare," he said.

“You see fast wingers becoming more and more important in physical leagues like the Premier League.

“I remember last year against Manchester United and Liverpool, he was the one with Gerard Deulofeu on the other side affecting the game and deciding the game every time.

“This type of player are players you have to try to maximise and protect them as much as you can.”