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The one that nearly got away: Abdoulaye Doucoure

After a year of trying Everton have finally signed French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford for a fee believed to be around £20 million pounds, which is an absolute steal. Everton attempted to sign Doucoure last summer, but Watford would not budge but their relegation has helped the deal go through for a cheap price as well. 

The final piece of Ancelotti’s new midfield jigsaw has finally been completed with the deal for Doucoure the last to be sorted after Allan and James Rodriguez. That could be potentially due to the fact that this transfer has been relatively simple to sort out compared to the other two new signings. The 27-year-old has reportedly agreed a three-year contract and will be wearing the number 16 on the back of his shirt. 

Abdoulaye Doucoure said in the interview when he was announced that “I have been waiting a long time to come here and now it has happened so I am very happy.” He then went onto say that “It was the only club I wanted to join” which will have helped win over Everton fans already.  

A theme with all the new signings so far has been the fact they keep on referencing the project and Doucoure was no different. The Frenchman stated that “It is an ambitious project here and it was a big part of my decision, having Marcel and the coach Carlo Ancelotti wanting me.” The fact that the players are all openly on board with the project that has been sold to them can only be positive for the immediate and long-term future. 

He will be expected to slot in alongside Allan without any real issues and get up to speed straight away having been a Premier League regular for the past four years. He played all but one game for Watford last season whilst they had four different managers in their dismal campaign. Doucoure was not one too blame due to him putting in tireless consistent midfield performances. He managed four goals and two assists. 

The seasons before that was when he really shone in a Watford team that finished comfortably mid-table and got to an FA cup final. He uses his strength and stature to bully players off the ball whilst also striding forward in a powerful manner to change from defence to attack. He in theory is the perfect midfielder to compliment Allan as he done it so well when partnered with Etienne Capoue. 

His versatility in midfield will also massively help Ancleotti as Doucoure is renowned for being a box-to-box which will fit right in due to the 4-4-2 formation however he can quite easily adapt to just having to sit back. Whilst also if needed he can play further forward so if Ancelotti feels the need to change the system for some games Doucoure will be able to do an adequate job in any midfield role. 

Doucoure showed that he is capable of this in the 2017-18 campaign as he won the Watford player of the season award and scored seven goals from midfield as well as four assists. He yet again played 37 league games and managed to last every single minute of the games he started. He very rarely gets substituted but also has not a serious injury in the past eight years which will be vital especially for this new campaign and the ridiculously tight schedule. 

Unfortunately for Doucoure he is only a French under-21 international and has never earned a senior cap. He will be relishing the challenge to help Everton get back into Europe and with some extra motivation to earn himself a international call up as he has reiterated in the past he wants to play for France even though he has the chance to play for Mali. So, no senior cap could be a blessing in disguise for Everton. 

Signing Doucoure will have some implications on other squad members. Tom Davies may be leaving with the team the Frenchman has just left, Watford, supposedly wanting him on loan. The signing may also give Andre Gomes some urgency to get back to his fantastic form from the 18-19 season. Gomes may find himself on the bench more often than not with Doucoure and Allan in the middle so he will need to up his game. However, it could also allow Gomes to have an attacking midfield role which he may potentially flourish in. So Doucoure coming in could be a catalyst for lots of other positive things. 

Another midfielder who will compliment Allan and Rodriguez perfectly, so far it has been a very promising transfer window for Ancelotti and Evertonians. The enthusiasm from past transfer windows has always been short lived, but maybe not this time with Carlo Magnifico at the helm. 

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: 2014 World Cup golden boot winner: Everton’s latest signing

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