Watford have beaten Liverpool to the punch for the second time in a week, moving to secure a deal for Abdoulaye Doucoure before the Reds could try and make up for missing out on Mario Suarez.
The Hornets were prepared to wait until the summer to move once again for Doucoure, which suited both player and the club, but they had to bring forward their summer plans after Liverpool formalised their interest in the Rennes midfielder late last week. A senior club official told WD Sport: “He is too good to miss and we had to act now.” The price, a club record £8m, is reflective of just how highly they rate the player.
The club, at this stage of deadline day, do not anticipate shipping out any of their 17-man squad (excluding Essaid Belkalem) so they may look to send the athletic 23-year-old midfielder back on loan to Rennes, to Granada or Udinese before he reports back for the first day of pre-season with Watford and get a full summer working with Quique Sanchez Flores.
Doucoure confirmed in December just how close he came to joining the Hornets in the summer.
“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. “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.”
Watford held a strong interest in Denis Cheryshev, a left-winger on the periphery at Real Madrid, but the club consider that deal is dead at this stage. The search for a striker is still underway but it will not be Jordan Rhodes, we have been told this afternoon.
Watford’s foreign players
Juan Carlos Paredes
Jose Manuel Jurado
Foreign players dropped from previous list: Victor Ibarbo, Giedrius Arlauskis, Alessandro Diamanti