Watford have confirmed the signing of 19-year-old right-back Jermery Ngakia, who joins on a free transfer after leaving West Ham this summer.
Ngakia made his breakthrough at the London Stadium this season, making five appearances in the Premier League, but despite looking like the club's right-back of the future, the teenager snubbed the chance to extend his stay and instead allowed his contract to expire on 30 June.
Ngakia will now join up with the Hornets for their pre-season training camp ahead of their first campaign back in the Championship.
The teenager looks set to compete with Kiko Femenía and Daryl Janmaat for minutes at Vicarage Road, but with the latter nursing a knee injury, Ngakia's chances of featuring for the first team may have already been given a boost.
Ngakia had plenty of offers this summer, with Schalke, West Bromwich Albion and even Liverpool linked with the 19-year-old, while West Ham did plenty to try and retain him, but despite pleas from both manager David Moyes and captain Mark Noble, Ngakia has opted to continue his career with Watford.
"We are really surprised and disappointed that Jeremy is not going to stay at West Ham, we like him a lot, we’ve given him his debut and I’m a manager who has done that many times in my career, including Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Jordan Pickford and others," Moyes said (via the Evening Standard) back in June.
“Jeremy is another one and I feel he is making a mistake choosing not to stay with us. We’ve trusted him in big games and everyone likes him at the club.
“I also feel it’s a kick in the teeth for the academy, because they have developed a player for the first team and he’s not going to stay. We’re also really disappointed with his decision not to stay beyond June 30."
The news comes on the same day as Watford announced the departure of seven players, the most high-profile of which is Cucho Hernández's loan move to Getafe.