Everton have seemingly finalised the Abdoulaye Doucouré transfer. The French midfielder has reportedly rejected approaches from Fulham, Wolves, and Hertha Berlin, with his heart set on a move to Goodison Park. Sources close to the player have indicated that the chance to play under Carlo Ancelotti is a major factor in his decision. It is also thought that the caliber of potential acquisitions James Rodriguez and Allan have helped convince him that a transfer to Everton is the right one.
Watford were reportedly holding out for a fee of £30m but have eventually accepted a £20m bid that could rise a further £5m with incentives. The Hornets allegedly also want a player on loan from Everton as part of the deal, with Anthony Gordon and Jarrad Branthwaite two names the club are keen on. However, Carlo Ancelotti is said to be unwilling to let either of them go.
Doucouré has been a mainstay in the Watford midfield since 2016, making 129 appearances, notching 17 goals and 11 assists. The French midfielder has consistently been linked with a move away from Vicarage Road in recent seasons. Paris Saint-Germain and Everton have long held an interest in the Abdoulaye Doucouré transfer and it’s been well known at Watford that Doucouré would depart this summer regardless of their Premier League status.
Abdoulaye Doucouré is versatile, capable of playing as a deep-lying central defensive midfielder, part of a traditional midfield two, or as a central attacking midfielder. He spent most of his Watford career playing at CDM. He isn’t a tough tackler but an extremely clever one; often dispossessesing opponents with a smart nick of the ball, allowing him to quickly drive up the pitch and release to the creative players. His pace and athleticism mean that he will often be in the box to receive the ball back from those players. A true box to box midfielder, an in form Doucouré an exciting prospect for any club.
Like many of the talented individuals in the Watford squad, the 19/20 season was not a good season for Doucouré. His final pass and shooting were particularly poor in the early parts of the season under Javi Gracia and Quique Sánchez Flores. However, under Nigel Pearson, Doucoure regained some confidence after being deployed as a CAM. The change in position allowed him to get involved further up the pitch and dictate more of the attacking moves.
His finest moment of the season came away at Brighton; after Étienne Capoue had won possession in the middle of the park, Doucouré picked up the ball on the halfway line, and surged towards the Brighton goal, before jinking to the right and firing a quick shot into the far corner. Producing these moments of class on a more regular basis will be Doucouré’s focus when he joins the toffees.
Abdoulaye Doucouré is exactly the kind of player Everton should be signing. His ability to read the game and skill with the ball at his feet will bring a new level of cohesion to the team. At £30m he won’t be the most expensive player the blues have ever signed, but he may just unlock the potential of more high profile signings such as Moise Kean and Alex Iwobi. Whilst Watford will feel they have brokered a good deal for Doucouré, if he can recreate his best form in an Everton shirt, he will certainly be one of the clubs shrewdest acquisitions in recent years.
The focus will inevitably go on the marquee signings of Allan and James Rodriguez but the Abdoulaye Doucouré transfer should have fans of The Toffees very excited.