For Crystal Palace, one of the hallmarks of this season has been the injection of youthful energy. The bringing down of the squad age meant that many players who would not normally get game time have thrived. Others, like on loan midfielder Conor Gallagher, have enjoyed excellent spells in the team. However, with the Chelsea loanee almost certain to leave, Palace have set their eyes on finding a new midfielder to bring in this summer.
One name being linked with the team at the moment is Cheick Doucoure. The Lens midfield has made a big impression this year in a surprisingly well-balanced Lens team. A move for the player would likely see Palace up against it with big clubs in France already keen to make a move for the Malian international. Other Premier League teams are interested also. However, the potential to play for a French football legend in Patrick Vieira might be enticing for the 22-year-old.
Palace are keen to add more energy into the midfield this summer, continuing on the approach that Vieira has taken since arriving. Doucoure was labelled by his teammate, another Palace target in the past in Seko Fofana, as ‘complete’ in the way that he plays in midfield.
A hugely exciting season in France has done nothing to quell the excitement about what Doucoure would bring to the table.
Who is Cheick Doucoure?
The midfielder, 22, has been at Lens since 2018. In that time, he has become a fan favourite as he has racked up an impressive 128 games for the club. Eight goals and seven assists from the No. 6 slot is an impressive return. With some of the other Palace midfielders either getting on a bit or being more offensively minded, Doucoure would offer aggression, running power, and intelligent positioning.
Crucially, he fits into the profile of a young player who can improve further when spending time at Selhurst Park. Doucoure has a very impressive overall profile, and would make a smart move for the club. Capable of playing at centre-half, too, Doucoure would be a wise choice given he can play multiple roles. Vieira is a fan of versatility, and would likely find a player in Doucoure who would fit in with his playing style.
However, the fee is likely to be a stumbling block. The player is believed to be worth a minimum of £9, though a good season for the French club means they might have more prize money than some would have assumed. This could see the club look to get even more money due to not being quite so keen to sell-up a key first-team talent.
While Fofana was often linked with Palace in the past, it looks like his midfield partner has won the hearts of the Palace scouting department. If Vieira is keen to continue down this route of building a young and exciting team, then Doucoure might be one of the key cogs of a very important summer transfer window.