Watford striker Troy Deeney has explained his double middle-finger gesture in celebration after his goal against Chelsea on Monday was made in an effort to dispel rumours linking him with an exit from the club.
Deeney converted from the penalty spot to open the scoring in a 4-1 rout of the Premier League champions, and he told BBC 5 live Sport his celebration was in response to January transfer gossip (h/t Kevin Beirne of Football.London).
"Obviously we have had a lot of transfer talk and transfer speculation," he said. "I've kept quiet because I realise talking gets me in trouble. That was a case of letting everyone know I saw everything and I am still here."
The Hornets frontman is now facing the possibility of a four-match ban from the Football Association, however, per injury analyst Ben Dinnery:
MailOnline's Max Winters likened the intentional on-pitch profanity to an incident that landed Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli a one-match suspension, when he displayed a middle finger in England's 2-1 win over Slovenia in September.
The FA found the gesture was "offensive and unsporting," suggesting Deeney will also be judged by similar guidelines following his protest—seemingly towards his own fans—at Vicarage Road on Monday.
Sport Witness questioned how necessary the gesture was, particularly one that could be interpreted as something of an aggressive approach to matters:
Deeney was most closely linked with moves to West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United in January, and the Watford captain was coy on his future when asked, per Matt Storey of the Hertfordshire Mercury:
"It wouldn't be January—or any other transfer window, for that matter—without there being some chat about my future here. [...]
"Nothing changes for me—there's no point. What will be will be and it's the job of every pro at every club to get on with it and do what they're paid to do.
"In my case, that's knock a few goals into the net and be a captain for Watford."
Deeney, 29, is now in his eighth season at Watford and appears content to remain at Vicarage Road as long as he's allowed, having exhibited an impassioned response to staying at the club.