Crystal Palace are reportedly close to landing Cheick Doucoure after agreeing an initial £18 million fee with Ligue 1 club RC Lens.
Crystal Palace look set to complete their third signing of the summer transfer window, with RC Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure closing in on a move to Selhurst Park. That is according to a report from The Guardian, which claims the Eagles are close to agreeing a deal for Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure that could eventually be worth £22 million including add-ons.
Crystal Palace had a £14 million bid rejected by Lens, who were holding out for a better price for Doucoure. This followed a series of extensive talks between the two clubs, and it appears a breakthrough has been found after the Eagles agreed to pay an initial £18 million fee, which could rise to £22 million with add-ons.
Doucoure, who would act as a like-for-like replacement for Cheikhou Kouyate, has already agreed to personal terms ahead of a move to Selhurst Park and is set to pen a five-year contract, with the Malian midfielder due to having a medical with Crystal Palace on Thursday.
The Malian enforcer is viewed as one of Patrick Vieira’s top targets as he seeks to bolster his midfield ranks this summer. Conor Gallagher has returned to Chelsea after enjoying a fruitful loan stint at Selhurst Park last season, while Kouyate looks set to leave for free when his contract expires, with Crystal Palace unable to agree fresh term with the Senegalese midfielder.
Furthermore, last season, Crystal Palace suffered in midfield due to injuries to James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic, who started only 24 Premier League games between them. The latter is also out of favour under Vieira and even put up for sale by the club.
Crystal Palace have accelerated their summer business in recent weeks. They started by snapping up Sam Johnstone, who will arrive on a free transfer when he leaves West Bromwich Albion at the end of the month. That was followed up by the capture of Derby County’s teenage prodigy Malcolm Ebiowei, also on a free transfer. Now, they seem to have pulled the trigger on signing Doucoure.
The 22-year-old rose through the ranks at Ligue 1 club RC Lens and has featured 131 times for them over the past four seasons, coming to the fore as a key member in the last two campaigns. The defensive midfielder was in fine form last term, contributing with four assists and one goal in 34 Ligue 1 outings.
The update will come as a major blow to Arsenal, who launched a late pursuit for the player. As for Crystal Palace, they are continuing their very successful turnover of the squad under Patrick Vieira, who has done an exceptional job at lowering the average age of the playing personnel and turning to an attractive brand of football.