Marco Silva wants to be reunited with two of his former Watford midfielders at Fulham, according to the Athletic.

The Portuguese head coach admired Will Hughes and Nathaniel Chalobah during his time at Vicarage Road and the Whites have been linked with an audacious move for the former Derby midfielder for much of this summer. Hughes, who rejected the Hornets’ offer of a new five-year contract, has just a year remaining on his current deal and has not featured in any of Watford’s recent pre-season friendlies. Fulham have held a longstanding interest in the 26 year-old midfielder – dating back as far as 2012 – but could find themselves eclipsed by Premier League sides in their pursuit of Hughes, who has been the subject of interest from Aston Villa and has held preliminary talks with Crystal Palace.

Defensive midfielder Chalobah, who was briefly on Fulham’s books as a youngster, also has a year to run on his Watford contract, but the club are more confident of persuading him to stay at Vicarage Road. The former England international was a regular starter as Watford won promotion from the Championship last season and Silva believes he could add steel to the Fulham midfielder, especially with ongoing concerns about Harrison Reed’s fitness.

The Athletic cites Fulham’s parachute payments following relegation from the Premier League as giving the Cottagers the financial advantage to be able to fund signings as these, but the moves would probably be dependent on Craven Cottage outgoings before the closure of the summer transfer window.