Crystal Palace have reportedly lodged an improved offer in excess of €20 million to sign highly-rated Malian midfielder Cheick Doucoure from RC Lens this summer.
Crystal Palace are looking to intensify their efforts to sign Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure, whom they have identified as a summer priority. According to football journalist Nabil Djellit, the Eagles are growing confident of securing a deal after upping their bid to €20 million, plus €5 million in add-ons, for the highly-coveted Malian international.
Several low-ball bids have already been turned down by Lens, who have set a €25 million asking price for their prized midfield enforcer. The 22-year-old midfielder is reportedly keen on a move to south London and has already agreed personal terms, but the two clubs still needed to settle on a price for the midfielder.
Talks have since ramped up as the Eagles try to force a deal over the line, with fellow Premier League rivals Arsenal also said to be keeping track of the situation developing around the player. And there appears to be a feeling in the Crystal Palace camp that the latest offer should be enough to reach a middle ground and eventually an agreement with the French club.
Doucoure is quietly making waves in the French Ligue 1 and has emerged as one of the standout players for the hugely impressive Lens side. Predominantly a defensive midfielder, the Malian international has gained a lot of experience at such a young age, racking up over 130 first-team appearances for Lens, chipping in with 8 goals and 7 assists along the way.
Despite still having two years left on his current contract, Doucoure is likely to leave Lens this summer with a high level of interest in the young midfielder from several clubs, including Crystal Palace. As such, the Ligue 1 club have already signed a replacement in Salis Abdul Samed from divisional rivals Clermont Foot.
Patrick Vieira started a new era at Selhurst Park last summer, bringing in and nurturing young, hungry and up-and-coming talent. That has paid dividends with the likes of Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze, and Michael Olise all showing great potential and coming good the last term as they secured a 12th-placed finish in the Premier League.
With Cheikhou Kouyate’s contract negotiations stalled, Conor Gallagher unlikely to return to Selhurst Park, James McArthur, and Luka Milivojevic past their peak, the midfield is surely an area of concern for the Eagles. Crystal Palace have been keeping track of Doucoure as a long-term option, and they have now pulled the trigger.
They have already brought Derby County’s 18-year-old teenage attacker Malcolm Ebiowei as their first piece of incoming business and it seems Doucoure could follow soon. A strong, agile, and energetic midfielder, the 22-year-old has displayed impressive athleticism and physical prowess to complement his technical and progressive attributes, making him an exciting prospect.
At 22 years of age, he is only going to improve as well. Whether Palace can wrap this one up remains to be seen, but there is a general feeling that this will go through and Lens will accept the Eagles’ latest offer.