Watford have reportedly entered the race to sign AFC Bournemouth defender Steve Cook, who is a target for EFL Championship club QPR.

According to a report from Football Insider, Watford are interested in signing experienced English defender Steve Cook from EFL Championship side AFC Bournemouth in the January transfer window.

A product of the Brighton & Hove Albion academy, Cook has been with Bournemouth since 2011, when he arrived on loan, before making the switch permanent in January 2012. Since his move, the 30-year-old has more or less been a regular in the side for the Cherries going on to rack up 387 appearances so far, in which he has 21 goals and 11 assists.

The experienced defender was a key part of the team that had cemented their status as a Premier League club in the second half of the last decade under Eddie Howe. However, Cook has fallen down the pecking order at the Vitality Stadium this season under manager Scott Parker, who has handed him just four appearances in all competitions so far.

Despite his reduced game time, Cook remains a valued commodity in English football due to his experience. Newcastle United have shown an interest in his services ahead of the January window as Howe eyes a reunion. Watford have also entered the race to sign the 30-year-old English defender.

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The Hornets are only two points above the relegation zone and have picked up only two wins under new boss Claudio Ranieri. Watford are one of the worst defensive units in the Premier League this season, having let in 31 goals already. Only Newcastle United (41), Leeds United (36) and Norwich City (34) have shipped in more than the Hertfordshire outfit.

So, even though Ranieri has plenty of defensive options at his disposal, someone like Cook, a proven player at the Premier League level, can be a good signing. He would add a lot of value to the team with his experience and leadership qualities. However, Watford will have to stave off competition from Championship side QPR, who are pushing to add the 30-year-old to boost their playoff finish hopes.

Cook’s contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he could be available at a bargain price in January. It now remains to be seen if Watford decide to act on their interest in the Bournemouth star next month.

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