Last updated 2 months ago | By Mirror
Watford have 'sold' midfielder Pape Gueye to Marseille just 17 HOURS after he joined them.
But the Hornets will claim seven-figure compensation for a player they had signed on pre-contract terms in January.
In one of football's most bizarre transfers, Watford beat a clutch of Europe's top clubs, including Arsenal, to the 21-year-old French prospect from Le Havre.
He was photographed holding a Watford shirt and putting pen to paper.
But Gueye - a free agent when he agreed his move to Vicarage Road - changed his mind, claiming he had been “badly advised” to sign a five-year contract on a basic £45,000-a-month.
Watford registered defensive midfielder Gueye as their player at midnight on July 1 as scheduled.
But by 5pm, he had agreed terms with Marseille, posting a photo of himself in the French club's training top on Instagram and saying: “Very happy and proud to announce my signature at L'Olympic de Marseille for the next four years.”
And rather than keep a reluctant recruit, the Hornets will claim compensation from Marseille on the basis that it would cost around £2.7m to buy out the player's contract alone.
But they will fight tooth and nail if Marseille try and claim the deal was a free transfer direct from Le Havre.
Gueye's new agent, Pierre-Henri Bovis, insisted back in April that his client would not be joining the Premier League strugglers after all.
Even by Watford's standards of selling on players for a big mark-up, cashing in on Gueye after one day would be remarkable business.
Two years ago, they sold Richarlison to Everton for £45million – just 11 months after paying £11.2m to bring him to England from Fluminense in Brazil.
Before he became a loan star at Manchester United, Odion Ighalo joined Watford for nothing and was sold for £20m two and a half years later.
And £3.5m striker Dodi Lukebakio played only 20 minutes under former Hornets coach Javi Gracia before he was sold to Hertha Berlin for £18m after an impressive loan spell in the Bundesliga.