Watford: Ranegie and Merkel arrive from Udinese

Watford have announced the signings of Sweden international striker Mathias Ranegie and German midfielder Alexander Merkel from Italian side Udinese.

Ranegie, 29, has joined for an undisclosed fee and has signed a deal to keep him at the club until 2017.

Merkel, 21, arrives on loan until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has extended his loan deal at Watford until the end of the season.

Watford's Italian connections

The players who have made the switch from Udinese to Watford since the Italian Pozzo family took over at Vicarage Road in June 2012:

  • Diego Fabbrini
  • Gabriele Angella
  • Almen Abdi
  • Cristian Battocchio
  • Marco Cassetti
  • Davide Faraoni
  • Jean-Alain Fanchone
  • Javier Acuna
  • Neuton Piccoli
  • Joel Ekstrand
  • Fernando Forestieri
  • Alex Geijo
  • Matej Vydra
  • Steve Leo Beleck
  • Mathias Ranegie
  • Alexander Merkel

The arrival of Ranegie and Merkel continues the close ties between Watford and Udinese, who are both owned by the Pozzo family.

During their first season as owners of Watford, the club signed 10 players on loan from the Serie A side, prompting a change in Football League rules which limits the number of overseas loans a club can make to five.

Ranegie, whose clubs in Sweden included IFK Gothenburg and Malmo, has made five appearances for his national side, scoring once.

He moved to Udinese in August 2012 and has scored once in 24 appearances, all but three of them coming as a substitute.

Loan signing Merkel has spent his professional career playing in Serie A, with previous spells at AC Milan and Genoa, and has represented Germany at youth level.

Neither player is available for Saturday's trip to Bristol City in the FA Cup.

Meanwhile, Josh McEachran and George Thorne have now both returned to their respective parent clubs as their loans have expired.

West Brom midfielder Thorne, 20, has made eight league appearances after arriving on loan at Vicarage Road in November.

McEachran, 20, started five Championship matches, and made two substitute appearances after joining on loan from Chelsea in September.