Watford appoint Javi Gracia as new manager

Gracia, 47, signed an 18-month contract with Watford who lie 10th in the standings.

The downturn in form coincided with Everton's approach for Silva as their preferred replacement for the sacked Ronald Koeman.

The Toffees made an approach for the Portuguese but it was refused by the Hornets, who reportedly turned down an offer of around £15million in compensation to keep hold of their boss.

Watford however confirmed on Sunday that they have parted ways with their manager and seemed to highlight Everton's interest as a reason for taking the decision that they took.

A Watford statement said they were "convinced the appointment of Silva" last summer "was the right one".

Sky Sports News understands Gracia will meet the Watford squad for training on Monday and will bring four new backroom staff members along with him to his new role.

Javi Gracia is emerging as a leading candidate to be appointed Silva's successor at Vicarage Road.

"For the security and success of the football club, the board believes it has to make a change".

Watford felt that situation caused a "significant deterioration" in the their fortunes, a claim supported by the fact that the club have lost seven of the 10 league matches since Sam Allardyce took the reins at Goodison Park.

The club were expected to fight for survival during a time when the club were experiencing serious financial difficulties, but Gracia led the Spanish side to eighth and ninth place finishes. "My job is to work hard, together with my players, to improve".

Gracia's first match in the Watford dugout will come in the FA Cup next Saturday when his side take on Southampton in the fourth round.

  • Jon Douglas