‘The thing with Doucoure…’ – Liverpool reporter makes confession over reported £70m Reds target

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Neil Jones has admitted that Liverpool-linked midfielder Cheick Doucoure hadn’t particularly caught his eye when watching Crystal Palace last season.

The Mali international has been the subject of reported interest from Anfield in recent days, although the Eagles value their 2022/23 Player of the Year at an eye-watering £70m (Alex Howell).

While Graeme Bailey told the Talking Transfers podcast lately that the 23-year-old is considered very highly by the Reds’ analytics team, Jones confessed that the former Lens ace hadn’t stood out to him at Selhurst Park.

Speaking exclusively to Empire of the Kop’s Substack, the Liverpool-focused journalist said: “The thing with Doucoure… I can’t say he registered on my radar a lot last season. He was part of a Palace side that was pretty ordinary for the most part and then got a good boost with the manager change in the spring.

“But he wasn’t a player that I watched and thought he obviously looked like he would go higher than Palace. When you watch Palace, maybe your eyes are drawn to other players like Michael Olise, Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze.

“Doucoure is 23 and he’s got a year of experience in the Premier League, he’s obviously done well before that over in France, he’s an international.”

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While some names like Ryan Gravenberch and Romeo Lavia have been touted with possible moves to Liverpool for some time, Doucoure has only emerged as a transfer target in recent days.

Although Jones is justified in suggesting that exciting attackers like Olise and Eze are more likely to catch the eye of neutral observers, the Mali midfielder has undoubtedly been a crucial cog in the Palace machine, as illustrated by him winning the club’s Player of the Season award in 2022/23.

Only five players in the Premier League exceed his match average of 1.6 interceptions last term (WhoScored), marking him out as one of the most no-nonsense engine room enforcers in the top flight in his first campaign in English football.

If Fabinho’s proposed move to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia goes through, Liverpool will need to bring in a reliable defensive midfielder to fill the void left by the Brazilian’s departure.

While Florian Plettenberg tweeted this morning that the Reds are now firm favourites to sign Lavia, Doucoure is also well worth keeping in mind incase a move for the Southampton starlet doesn’t materialise.

The next few days could be vital towards shaping Jurgen Klopp’s squad for the season if various rumoured ins and outs are finalised.

#Ep82 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Who do Liverpool replace Henderson & Fabinho with?

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1 Comment

  1. you might have mentioned he was Player of the season ahead of the likes of Zaha, Olise, Eze and Guehi

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