Watford have opened talks with Fulham to sign centre-back Alfie Mawson this summer, Football Insider understands.

The 26-year-old, who cost the Cottagers £20million back in 2018, was a mainstay during the first half of last season but underwent surgery on a knee injury in January and failed to feature again.

A source at Vicarage Road has told Football Insider that the Hornets have identified Mawson as the experienced head they need following their relegation to the Championship and are in discussions with Fulham over a deal.

Mawson joined Fulham from Swansea City back in 2018 after the two clubs swapped places between the Premier League and the Championship.

However, he suffered an injury-plagued first season at Craven Cottage and played just 16 times across all competitions as the London outfit were relegated back into the second tier.

Having recovered from his setback, Mawson started Fulham’s opening 25 league games last season but was forced to go back under the knife shortly after the turn of the year.

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He did return to the matchday squad in July but was left as an unused substitute for seven games as Scott Parker led the club to play-off success.

Now Watford, who have swapped places with the Cottagers ahead of next season, are in the market for an experienced Championship defender and view Mawson, with his 31 second-tier and 80 Premier League appearances, as an ideal signing.

The Hornets have already brought in Jeremy Ngakia on a free transfer after his departure from West Ham earlier this summer.

In other Watford news, Everton have been told to poach the club for one of the top talents at Vicarage Road.