Peter Etebo of Watford and Nigeria.Watford.

Nigeria’s Etebo returns to Stoke City from relegated Watford after loan spell

Watford have confirmed midfielder Peter Etebo will not extend his loan stay with the side ahead of the new season.

Despite the Hornets having an option to buy the 26-year-old Nigeria international on a permanent deal, they have confirmed he will return to his parent club Stoke City.

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According to a statement on the club's official website, Etebo is among five players who have been released. The others are goalkeeper Ben Foster, Cameroon defender Nicolas Nkoulou, forward Andre Gray, and Juraj Kucka, who decided to activate a release clause in his contract.

“Following the conclusion of the 2021-22 Premier League season, Watford can confirm that five first-team players have left the club,” read part of the statement.

“Juraj Kucka has chosen to activate a release clause in his contract, bringing an end to his one-season stay in Hertfordshire, while fellow midfielder Peter [Etebo] has returned to parent club Stoke City following his loan spell at Vicarage Road.

“Defender Nicolas Nkoulou – who made three league appearances after signing in October 2021 – and forward Andre Gray – who spent the last campaign on loan at Queens Park Rangers – have also departed upon the expiration of their deals.”

Etebo joined Watford on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy on August 14, 2021, and he made his competitive debut for the Hornets in their league opener against Aston Villa, where they won 3-2.

However, he struggled with injuries and made just ten appearances for the Hornets as they suffered relegation from the top-flight after finishing 19th on the 20-team table, with 23 points from 38 matches.

The last Premier League game that Etebo featured in for Watford was on May 15 against Leicester City, a fixture that he played only nine minutes in during a 5-1 defeat. Last season, the Super Eagle played 24 Super Lig games for Galatasaray.

His exit from Watford leaves four Nigerian players – goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, forward Emmanuel Dennis, winger Samuel Kalu, and defender William Troost-Ekong - in their squad ahead of the new season where they will play in the EFL Championship.