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Abdoulaye Doucouré 16

With midfield having been identified as an area of the team that needed an urgent overhaul after Carlo Ancelotti's first half-season in charge, Everton moved decisively in the 2020 close season to bring in three players who could potentially make an immediate impact on club's fortunes. After Allan and James Rodriguez were confirmed as the first new additions in the first week of September, Abdoulaye Doucouré was signed in a deal worth an initial £20M.

At one stage reportedly valued by the Hornets at £50M, Doucouré’s price was negotiated down by more than half, although a further £5M in appearance-related add-ons could eventually bring the transfer fee up to £25M.

Born in Meulan-en-Yvelines in Île de France, Doucuoré began his career at Rennes where he played 75 Ligue 1 games and scored 12 goals before the Hornets picked him up for an undisclosed fee in 2016.

He spent a year on loan at Granada before breaking into the first team at Vicarage Road and played 129 Premier League matches there, notching 17 goals.

At one time a target for his former boss, Marco Silva, when he was Everton manager, Doucouré left Watford after four seasons following that club’s relegation back to the Championship, which prompted Doucouré to seek a path back to the Premier League.

Identified by Marcel Brands and Carlo Ancelotti as the kind of powerful, energetic presence the Blues’ midfield needs, he signed a 3-year contract with the option to add an additional year, and slotted straight in to a completely revamped midfield for the start of the 2020-21 season.

Doucouré would do well enough, until he had 2 months out injured in the spring of 2021, when Everton arguably needed him most as the performances dropped off and Ancelotti manifestly failed to inspire the kind of fight needed to secure European football. 

Ancelotti bailed on Everton unceremoniously, while The Frenchman, after a remarkably quick recovery, had started to make big strides in a more advanced role under new manager, Rafael Benitez, scoring goals against Southampton and Norwich City; he had played in every minute of Everton's Premier League campaign under the new manager to that point.

But Doucouré would join the burgeoning Autumn 2021 injury catastrophe when he sustained another stress fracture in his foot that would keep him out for 5 weeks.  Everton would lose three and draw one of the four matches he missed in the worst part of that injury blighted period. 

But he would come back in late November to join an increasingly dysfunctional first-team set-up under the increasingly stubborn management of Benitez as Everton slid down the Premier League table. And a groin injury picked up against Aston Villa would prevent him playing under new manager Frank Lampard until the end of February 2022.

After he regained match fitness, he played in every game but one as Everton struggled with and eventually won their battle to avoid relegation to the Championship. He rather flattered to deceive, however, saying he was a box-to-box player who liked to get up the field and score, he's not a good passer, he can't hold possession well, he has a poor shot and just doesn't score enough goals. lots of energy but not directed at the right target.

FactFile

Squad number 16
Position Central midfield
Nationality French
Born Meulan-en-Yvelines
Date of birth 1 January 1993
Height 6'-0" (1.84 m)
Joined 8 September 2020
Joined from Watford
Signed under Carlo Ancelotti
Transfer fee £20M (^£25M)
Contract duration 3 years
Contract expires June 2023
Full debut v Tottenham H (A)
13 September 2020
Previous Clubs Rennes
Watford
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Everton Career

Season Squad Number League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2021-22 16 29 (1) 2 2 (2) 0 31 (3) 2
2020-21 16 29 (0) 2 3 (2) 1 32 (2) 3
  Totals 58 (1) 4 5 (4) 1 63 (5) 5


Previous Career

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2016-20 Watford 130 (11) 17
2015-16 Granada (loan) 13 (2) 0
2012-16 Rennes 32 (20) 16


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