Why Everton made a big mistake by not signing Abdoulaye Doucoure
Although it was understood that Watford would have considered offers for the 26-year-old earlier this summer, Everton’s approach was not only significantly below their valuation but had also come far too late in the transfer window.
Abdoulaye Doucoure joined the Hornets from Rennes in 2016 and has been one of the club’s consistent performers in the last couple of seasons.
The Frenchman scored five Premier League goals last term and chipped in with another six assists. He signed a new five-year contract last year, meaning Watford were under no pressure to sell their star man.
Everton boss Marco Silva, who had coached the French midfielder during his time at Watford, was searching for a replacement for the departed Idrissa Gueye.
The Toffees had already moved to sign Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Mainz but Silva seemed unhappy with his midfield options and was also keen to sign Doucoure.
Nevertheless, a move didn’t materialise and Silva failed to get his man. And that could come back to haunt Everton in their pursuit for a place in the top six this season.
The Toffees started the new Premier League campaign well, picking up four points after the first two games. But they hit a snag last week against Aston Villa, losing 2-0 at Villa Park. Silva’s side started brightly but as the game settled they failed to break down Villa’s tight defence.
The midfield combination of Morgan Schneiderlin and Andre Gomes was off colour, with both players’ passing subpar. Their poor show meant the Toffees forwards got very little service from midfield. Truly, Silva would have been frustrated with what he saw against Villa.
Gomes needs a strong presence beside him to dictate the tempo of play and that clearly cannot be Schneiderlin after the Villa game. Silva has the likes of Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Tom Davies in the squad to choose a partner for Gomes in the midfield.
Question marks remain whether Delph or Davies could play that role, while Gbamin is still adjusting to the demands of English football and has unfortunately ruled out for eight weeks with a thigh injury.
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This is where the Toffees could have done with Abdoulaye Doucoure. A Premier League proven material, Doucoure is a combative midfielder who is adept at breaking play with his interceptions and tackles as well as dictating the tempo of play with his distribution skills.
The ex-Rennes man is strong and powerful, likes to make drive runs from midfield, supply incisive through balls and even chip in with goals.
Ironically, Doucoure hasn’t had the best of starts as he has scored an own goal and conceded a penalty thus far this campaign. But he could have been of great use to Everton and it has now become very clear why Silva targeted him in the summer.