Watford boss Javi Gracia will not be surprised if the likes of Everton and Liverpool make a move for midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure in the upcoming winter transfer window.
The 25-year-old Frenchman joined the Hornets from Rennes in 2016 and has been in good form this season, which led to his name being associated with a host of big clubs including Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Why is Doucoure a wanted man? Five key things to know…
- Since arriving from Rennes in 2016 he’s gone on to make no fewer than 82 appearances for Watford in which time he’s registered 10 goals and nine assists.
- Doucoure, primarily a central midfielder, is capable of playing behind the centre-forward or in front of his team’s defence.
- Under the auspices of Gracia, he’s been utilised in each of those three midfield positions to great effect.
- Doucoure, who has featured in each of Watford’s 20 league outings to date this season, has two goals and five assists to his name.
- His present deal at Vicarage Road expires in June 2023.
Doucoure’s present deal at Vicarage Road, which he signed just before this current season got underway, expires in June 2023 and Gracia is not shocked to see clubs chasing him.
Using the example of former Watford teammate Richarlison, now shining at Everton, the former Málaga boss feels if Doucoure wants to leave for pastures new, then there’s little they can do to stop him.
“Last season every week we were talking about Liverpool or Everton, all the clubs that were interested in him,” he told reporters.
“We can speak about it again. For me, Doucouré is a great player, a very important player for us. I do not know what will happen. It doesn’t surprise me other clubs want to sign him because he is a very good player.
“In this moment, he is playing for us and I try to help him improve his level – thinking he is going to be with us for a long time. It is important the club know how important he is – the owner as well. But after that, they decide what is better for the club.
“Sometimes some players, like last season what happened with Richarlison, decide themselves. It could happen again. This is something we don’t want, but it is football.”
Pozzo expects Doucoure to remain for now
A return to France has been heavily rumoured of late with reports suggesting PSG are looking to bolster their midfield options by signing Doucoure.
Thomas Tuchel’s men currently lead Ligue 1 by 13 points but have two games in hand with recent fixtures against Montpellier and Dijon postponed due to riots in France.
PSG also have a Champions League round-of-16 tie with Manchester United to look forward to. So, with them competing on multiple fronts it makes sense to strengthen their squad, but chances of landing Doucoure next month are slim according to Watford owner Gino Pozzo.
“I do not expect to see this player leave immediately,” he told Paris United.
Doucoure to date has represented Watford on no fewer than 82 occasions in all competitions. He’s subsequently registered 10 goals and created a further nine for his teammates.
So far this season he’s featured in all of The Hornets opening 20 league outings managing three goals and five assists in the process.