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Watford are in talks with Fulham about a proposed move for central defender Alfie Mawson, according to reports this afternoon.

The Hornets have apparently identified the former Swansea centre back as the type of experienced defender who could help them make an immediate return to the top flight after relegation last term. The 26 year-old had previously been linked with a possible move to QPR as part of a proposed deal that may have seen Ebere Eze head to Fulham and there are suggestions that his injury-ravaged spell at Craven Cottage could be coming to an end as Scott Parker plots his first Premier League campaign.

Mawson, who made Gareth Southgate’s England squad on the strength of his performances for Swansea, has struggled to establish himself after making a big-money move to Fulham in the summer of 2018. He arrived in west London recovering from knee injury and picked up another serious knee problem during the Whites’ horrendous and ultimately doomed battle against the drop – making just sixteen appearances as Fulham went straight back down. He started the first 25 league games under Parker but, after requiring more knee surgery in January, was a peripheral figure as Fulham, boosted by the introduction of Michael Hector, secured promotion via the play-offs.

Parker has already targeted strengthening his defensive options ahead of the new campaign – and the departure of Mawson would only save to hasten such efforts. Whether the former Barnsley defender would entertain a move to Watford and if the Hornets would match Fulham’s valuation of a player they reportedly paid £20m two years ago remains to be seen.