Abdoulaye Doucoure was offered “handsome sum” to join Watford

Reports in France claim Watford are about to revive their interest in Abdoulaye Doucoure, the athletic Frenchman who they almost signed in the summer.

The Rennes box-to-box midfielder pulled out of a club-record move to Vicarage Road on the eve of the summer transfer window, opting to take into account the wishes of his pregnant partner who did not want to relocate at that time. Whether the family decision has changed is unclear but it is the subject of rising conjecture in France that Watford want to resurrect a deal for Doucoure, particularly in the wake of pulling out of negotiations with the representatives of Mario Suarez.

Our sources would not comment on a second move for the 23-year-old, who has scored three goals in 17 appearances this season, but it has been made clear to us a younger, more cost effective option than Suarez, 28, is being sought. Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, the 25-year-old Udinese midfielder pictured below, could be another option.

“We are ready to support a little bit more this [midfield] position,” confirmed Quique Sanchez Flores who has made no secret that the physical qualities of any arrival this month are imperative.

Watford, we were told, were prepared to break their transfer record to sign the strapping Doucoure in August.

“Watford offered a handsome sum, and I have weighed the pros and cons before deciding to stay one more season,” Doucoure said in an interview with sofoot.com last month. “For me it was a strategic choice to stay in Rennes. I thought progress more staying one more year here. At 23, the financial is really not my priority. Amounts [offered by] Watford were nice, but I prefer to focus my career in sports.”

Modelling his game on Yaya Toure, Abou Diaby and Lassana Diarra, Doucoure received his first call up to the France Under-21 side in March, playing 75 minutes of the 1-0 win over Belarus in a side captained by Kurt Zouma.

“I think I’m better in the middle runner, although it depends on the system in place,” he said in the same interview. “When there is a low point in the middle, I like being a little higher, like Blaise Matuidi at PSG. It really is that position that puts me at ease. The more difficult when you move a lot, is to get out of a game which feels good and end up the game according to a new position. That’s the hardest to manage, but at the same time, I stayed in midfield, although sometimes I played number 10. The most frustrating, this is to feel limited because it is not preferred position. But most important, it remains to play, so I’m not complaining. No matter what position I want to play.”

He might, if any deal comes off, need to bide his time to break into Watford’s midfield as, with the exception of the game at Southampton, Etienne Capoue and Ben Watson have been imperious. Doucoure said in the interview how the switch of Capoue, the former Toulouse midfielder, to Watford caught his eye.

“It is true that England attract a lot of players and it is ideal for those like me who like to both attack and defend,” he said. “I would like to integrate this championship, why not in a bigger club? The dream is the France team, but it’s difficult to make that team. The Mali national team follows me, so the choice will probably have to be done in some time. For now, I do not think about that. As long as I feel I have a chance in the France team is my priority. But in my game area, this is where there is more competition. For the Euro 2016, it’s complicated. For later, maybe tickets become available. We must take time, because the choice is irreversible.”