Watford boss Javi Gracia planning for next season amid speculation over his future

Javi Gracia says he is in ongoing talks with Watford over transfer plans and pre-season preparation – despite speculation over his future.

Watford guaranteed their Premier League safety last weekend with victory over Newcastle ahead of their final game of the campaign, against Manchester United on Sunday.

But results have deteriorated since Gracia took over in January, following the sacking of Marco Silva.

Gracia, however, is expecting to still be Watford head coach when the 2018-19 campaign kicks off.

“I’m working about next season, preparing many things,” he said. “This week and other weeks before I’ve spoken with the club about different situations – players, pre-season – preparing many things.

“In this moment I think about first of all going to spend some days with my family back in Spain, after that, coming back to start the next season and try to do better.”

Nathaniel Chalobah could provide a boost for Gracia in their final game of the season, with the former Chelsea midfielder in contention to make his first appearance in eight months.

The 23-year-old fractured his kneecap in training last September.

“He has a chance. We’ll see in the last training session tomorrow, but he is an option. He deserves this chance because he has worked very hard all this time,” said Gracia.

“He’s not in the best condition yet but if he can play say five minutes, 10 minutes – I don’t know – it will be very good for him and for the team as well.

“He needs more time to be fit and in a better condition, but he’s been training with the team the last two weeks and he feels well.

“He’s joining in all the training sessions and if it’s possible I think it would be good recognition for his work. It will be very good if he enjoys the last game and feels in the right way for next season.”