Former Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou becomes first signing of Claudio Ranieri's reign at Watford

Former Marseille and Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou becomes first signing of Claudio Ranieri’s reign at Watford after the free agent agrees deal until end of the season

Watford have confirmed the signing of free agent defender Nicolas Nkoulou.

The 31-year-old left Italian side Torino in the summer and will become the first signing of new manager Claudio Ranieri’s reign.

Centre-back Nkoulou has 75 caps for Cameroon and has been brought in with Watford defender Francisco Sierralta facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after tearing a thigh muscle.

Nkoulou was a target for Arsenal and Newcastle in his formative years and has played for Marseille, Lyon and Monaco.

He also had interest from Spezia in Serie A but has chosen to join Watford.  

Nkoulou began his professional career at Monaco and went on to make over 100 Ligue 1 appearances during a five-year spell at Marseille.

After a season with Lyon, Nkoulou moved to Serie A side Torino, with whom he spent two years before departing as a free agent at the end of last season.

The 31-year-old, who has agreed a deal until the end of the season, has played in two World Cups and helped his country win the African Cup of Nations title in 2017.