Midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, who joined Watford in January but will link up with the club this summer, has angrily dismissed claims from Rennes’ president René Ruello that he has a knee problem that requires managing.
The Hornets signed Doucoure from Rennes for a fee believed to be about £4m on the final day of the winter transfer window. Watford had originally planned to move for the 23-year-old this summer but brought forward the deal as several other clubs, including Liverpool, were circling the Frenchman. The Hornets almost signed him last summer.
But, with 17 foreign player spots already allotted in their Premier League squad, the Hornets immediately loaned him to sister club Granada until the end of the campaign. The Frenchman would feature in 15 of the Spanish side’s 16 remaining La Liga fixtures and helped them avoid relegation.
Over the course of the 2015-16 campaign, Doucoure missed just six games, all of which came during the first half of the season while he was at Rennes. He was absent for three matches in August and also missed a three-game spell from November to December. Yet the Rennes president, speaking on local Rennes television station TVR, said the French club’s medical staff had to manage Doucoure’s knee issue during his time with the French club, especially when they had to play twice in a week.
“[His knee] is a sword of Damocles (is in peril) permanently,” Ruello said. “When he plays two games in a row, you take two litres of water out of his knee. Then, overnight, it may stop.”
Doucoure, who will join up with Watford’s squad in July for pre-season training, hit back at those claims last night on Twitter. “What Mr. Ruello is saying is totally false,” he posted. “I am fully recovered. I had my two knee injuries which I fully recovered from. Saying they sold me because of that, while the club did everything for me to leave this summer for €12 million with an amazing forcing, is serious. I am especially disappointed [at] the lack of recognition of the President Ruello knowing that I did not earn the club money badly. ”
Doucoure underwent a comprehensive medical, which was overseen by the club’s head of medical Richard Collinge, on transfer deadline day before agreeing a four-and-a-half-year contract.
The athletic, box-to-box midfielder, played for France at Under-21 level alongside Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma and is expected to push hard for a starting spot in Watford’s XI next season, particularly as he was a real driving force in another relegation escape act by Granada.
Click HERE to read what we made of Doucoure’s full debut for Granada.