Former Watford striker Tommy Smith says it is inevitable that Abdoulaye Doucoure will leave Vicarage Road in the near future but hopes the club can hold onto him until at least the summer.
The 26-year-old has established himself as a key player in the Hornets midfield over the past two seasons.
He was named Watford’s Player of the Year at the end of their 2017/18 campaign and has contributed three goals and a further five assists this time round to help the club up to eighth in the Premier League.
Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton have both been linked, though the most sustained interest appears to be from French champions Paris Saint-Germain, who are reportedly ready to pay up to £50million ($63m) for the former France U21 international.
Former Hornets forward Smith, who made more than 250 appearances for Watford over two spells, accepts that the club would be unable to resist an offer of that size. However, he remains hopeful that Doucoure will stay in Hertfordshire until at least the end of the season to help sustain their bid for a top 10 finish.
“He'll be a huge loss if he does leave and ultimately he probably will do,” he told Love Sport Radio.
"When you're talking about clubs the size of PSG, Champions League football and titles, for any player that's going to be attractive.
"When you're talking £50m for a player, for a club like Watford that's enormous. I think if that is the kind of interest, it will only be a matter of time.
"I've seen him play a number of times and he's an exciting talent who can score goals as well. He's a Vieira-esque midfielder who gets up and down and gets in both boxes.
"He's quite physical and he's good on the ball as well so I'm not surprised by the interest.
"It's going to be tough for Watford to keep hold of him and hopefully they'll keep hold of him in January before seeing where things take him in the summer."
Javi Gracia's side are to take on Woking in the FA Cup this Sunday before Premier League ties with Crystal Palace, Burnley and Tottenham before the end of January.