Walter Mazzarri insists Troy Deeney is going nowhere, despite ongoing reports suggesting the Watford captain is set for the Vicarage Road exit door.
Speculation over a strained relationship between Mazzarri and his skipper grew after Deeney was linked with a move to West Bromwich Albion, before being left out of the starting XI for the trip to White Hart Lane.
Mazzarri, however, has no plans to sell the forward and insists he sees him as an important part in his plans to build a stronger squad next season.
“Why should we sell him if Deeney accepts the competition? I would like two players for each position,” Mazzarri said.
“I believe that if we want to become a higher level club then there has to be competition.
“I would like to do better in the FA Cup and League Cup. In order to do better we need 22 good players, so a player that has always played for me (Deeney), why would I think of selling him?
“If that would happen there wouldn’t be a reason why.”
Deeney has himself moved to quell speculation over a potential departure, without completely ruling a move away out.
"All that paper talk has happened every single window for the last nine windows. Leicester, Everton - I just leave it up to the club," he said on TalkSport.
"If they want to keep me, I'm happy to stay. If they want me to go, we'll shake hands."