Three reasons why Liverpool should sign Cheick Doucoure as Crystal Palace asking price revealed
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Liverpool are interested in Crystal Palace midfielder Cheick Doucoure as a Fabinho alternative. Here’s why they should sign the Mali international.
The 23-year-old was a midfield lynchpin for Palace last season, having moved to the club last summer in a deal worth up to £26million including add-ons.
According to the Athletic however, Palace will only entertain a significant fee for Doucoure and may look at Southampton's £50million asking price for Romeo Lavia as guidance. Meanwhile, both the Mail Online and BBC have claimed the south Londoners would only entertain selling for a minimum fee of £70million.
And the Eagles should expect a significant sum for the midfielder, who was named the fans’ player of the season for 2022-23.
Here’s why Liverpool are interested in Doucoure.
Doucoure’s Palace’s Player of the Year
It’s quite simple. Doucoure has been brilliant in his first season in south London.
It took him time to become accustomed to the speed of the Premier League, having been forced off with cramp in his first few games with the club. But soon enough, Doucoure proved his worth, becoming Palace’s most consistent performer across the campaign.
Indeed, at times it seemed that the ex-Lens star was playing the role of two holding players, such was his dominance in the middle of the park.
Out of possession, he is positionally sound, privy to snappy challenges but also has a knack for dispossessing his opponents with lunging slide tackles - an attribute that has not been seen at Selhurst Park since the heady days of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
He is also comfortable on the ball, in opportune moments looking to drive through the middle of the park, while he possesses a good range of passing. At Lens, Doucoure also proved an ability to score from distance, but in his short spell in south London, he is yet to find the net.
For any Liverpool fan wondering whether he is good enough to slot into the base of their midfield, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. After all, it was Doucoure who won the club’s Player of the Season over his more fashionable counterparts (Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Marc Guehi.)
Young but experienced
At just 23 Doucoure could play at the base of Liverpool’s midfield for a decade, seamlessly slotting in for Saudi-bound Fabinho.
And the Palace’s star’s youthfulness is coupled with a wealth of experience. Doucoure has played five seasons of competitive football across two countries, adopting a central role in his last three campaigns for Lens and Palace respectively.
Having made 171 senior club appearances and picked up 12 international caps in his career so far, the Malian is far more experienced than Lavia, Southampton’s teenage sensation touted among Liverpool’s alternative targets to Doucoure.
Now or never?
Will Liverpool pay Palace’s £70million asking price for Doucoure? Probably not.
From a Liverpool perspective that seems like an astronomical fee for a relatively unknown midfielder. From a Palace perspective, why would the club ask for anything less? Doucoure is young, has four years to run on his deal, and provides balance to their midfield while his departure would surely necessitate moves in the transfer market.
The player also appears to be perfectly happy in south London for now. After his first Premier League campaign came to a close, he thanked the fans for their continued support, adding that while he is yet to have mastered English he speaks the “Palace language.”
Yet, it may prove to be a now-or-never scenario for the Reds. Doucoure flew under the radar last season, shielded from the spotlight by Palace’s more eccentric attacking talents.
However, another season performing at his usual high level, this time with support from new midfield partner Jefferson Lerma, would surely see Doucoure attract interest from Liverpool’s rivals.
The £70million asking price may feel like a lot now, but the midfielder could cost even more in a year, should the Premier League and Europe’s elite hike up the price in a bidding war.