Arsenal and Aston Villa are reportedly showing an interest in 21-year -old Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure, who could cost around €15 million
According to Goal France, Cheick Doucoure is attracting some serious interest from Premier League sides Arsenal and Aston Villa. Both clubs could enter into a battle to sign the 21-year-old before the window closes, although it would be a blow for Lens to lose another one of their promising stars.
Arsenal have already signed Alberto Sambi Lokonga as a cover for their midfield. While their interest in Doucoure is genuine, they are essentially looking at another deep-lying midfielder to join their squad to add more defensive steel. The constant injuries to star midfielder Thomas Partey might also be bothering the club to some extent.
Partey’s struggles last term with niggling injuries was played down initially as a first season problem. However, his knock in pre-season, which will see him miss up to 3-4 weeks of action, has led Arsenal to give the issue some thought. While there is a general feeling it is just a small blip, some feel Partey might have become injury prone.
Either way, Arsenal feel the need to add steel in midfield and shore up the defensive side of things. Lokonga has the attributes, but he seems more like a ball carrier and hardly is an all-action star-like Partey. This brings Arsenal to the table for Doucoure, who has become an important part of the current Lens side.
Competing with Arsenal for Doucoure’s signature are Aston Villa, who have proven to be tough challengers in recent weeks. The Villans have already made considerable outlay on players, with as many as five signings onboard this summer. However, in addition to making multiple attacking signings, Dean Smith might want to shore up his midfield as well.
While Douglas Luiz and John McGinn offer reliability, Smith would want some solid defensive steel to the side as cover. Doucoure fits the bill considerably, as his tackles numbers are far better than McGinn and Luiz. The Lens star has bettered Partey and Granit Xhaka as well while being available for just €15 million.
Surely the price tag falls in the range of both clubs. Aston Villa could especially be attracted by the €15 million valuation as they have plenty of cash to burn before the window ends, owing to the massive £100 million sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City. Arsenal, meanwhile, are not far behind.
However, as the market has shown so far, Aston Villa have beaten Arsenal over player transfers recently. As for Doucoure, he would be a perfect cover player for either of those sides and might as well learn the trade in the Premier League, although Atalanta might have something to say pn the matter, seeing as they are also in the running to land the youngster.