Zola hoping for Mariappa stay

But boss won't block defender from making Premier League move

Adrian Mariappa: Has been linked with a Premier League move

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New Watford manager Gianfranco Zola is keen to keep the club's reigning player of the year Adrian Mariappa at Vicarage Road this summer.

Zola, who was appointed by the Hornets last week as Sean Dyche's successor, will be revealing his new-look backroom team in the coming days and is currently assessing the playing squad.

One player he definitely wants to keep hold of is defender Mariappa, who came through the youth ranks at the club.

The agent of the Jamaica international, who has been attracting admiring glances from the Premier League, with Reading expressing an interest, held talks with the club on Monday.

Decision

Zola hopes the 25-year-old will stay at Watford but will not stand in his way if a top-flight side comes knocking.

"Adrian I know is a very good player and was one of the best last year," said the new boss.

"Obviously we want to keep him but we understand it is not only our decision, also it's Adrian's.

"I understand he maybe has the possibility to go to the Premier League and I won't step in front of him and stop him if he wants to go."