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‘It’s Got To Be A Joke!’ The Brilliant Story Of How Watford Signed Young Star Domingos Quina

Domingos Quina has already endeared himself to Watford supporters
Domingos Quina has already endeared himself to Watford supporters

Domingos Quina currently has the ability to light up a bit of a twinkle in the eyes of many a Watford fan.

The 18-year-old Portuguese national catapulted himself onto the stage following his summer move from West Ham with some scintillating performances within mere weeks of signings; marking fixtures with his new club, and country for two simply stunning wonder goals.

His debut in the EFL Cup for Watford against Reading will live long in the memory, with Quina producing an absolute blunderbuss of a goal after an hour.

Quina’s journey to Watford, however, is a story within itself.

The Hornets - who enjoyed a stellar start to the season before having the brakes slightly pulled of late -  had a productive summer transfer window, bringing in Adam Masina, Ken Sema, and Gerard Deulofeu on a permanent basis, amongst others.

However, with business seemingly completed for a least another few months, just ten minutes before the deadline on August 9th Watford Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Scott Duxbury received a phone-call; the Hammers player Quina was plonked in his vehicle in the car-park of Watford’s training ground, itching for a move to Vicarage Road.

As reported by the FT Duxbury recalls,

“I said to Filippo [Giraldi, Watford’s Technical Director], ‘Is he any good?’ [Giraldi] went, “Yes, he’s phenomenal, Scott, but it’s got to be a joke, how on earth can we do this?’ “I phone West Ham. It’s not a joke. He’s got a year left of his contract. They just want to do a deal because they know they’re going to lose him in January, [so] we have a guy in a car park with 10 minutes to go before the window closes.”

Immediately, Duxbury spoke to Watford owner, Italian businessman Gino Pozzo, who instantly gave the go-ahead to snatch the young midfielder away from East London. £1million later and the move was completed.

“We close the deal and we’ve signed a player that in the Carabao Cup scored a wonder goal, then in midweek for Portugal [under-19s], scored another wonder goal.

If you didn’t have that speed of decision-making, he wouldn’t be here now.”

The move taken by Quina to show the incentive presents an inadvertent throwback to the hilarity of a player taking it upon himself to seal a high-profile move, albeit one that was notoriously unsucessful.  

Perhaps the most infamous failed independent attempt at securing a move, Deadline Day 2013 saw then-West Brom forward Peter Odemwingie speed down the M40 to Queen Park Rangers.

The credibility the Nigerian national had built up through being the Baggies’ top goalscorer and achieving a multitude of individual records for the Midlands club, including becoming the first player in West Brom's Premier League history to score in four consecutive games, was immediately dissipated once Sky Sports camera’s caught him outside Loftus Road clamouring for a move to the Rs.

Signing autographs for the gobsmacked fans did nothing to appeal to the Queens Park Rangers hierarchy, and Odemwingie was soon back on the sidelines, in the doldrums at West Brom.

Thankfully for Watford fans everywhere, Quina was far more successful.

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