Manchester United need to revamp their central midfield area and it will be a priority for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the coming transfer windows. Could Abdoulaye Doucoure be in the equation?
ESPN report Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare is on United’s radar, but there is a case that Solskjae should consider going for a player that has years of experience plying his trade and impressing in the Premier League instead.
Doucoure is in his fourth season at Watford since being signed from Rennes and has become a key player for the Hornets.
The 26-year-old was subject to bids from his former manager Marco Silva in the summer, but Watford rebuffed Everton’s approaches, they didn’t want their prized asset Doucoure following in the footsteps of Richarlison.
During Solskjaer’s tenure, Marouane Fellaini has left for China and Ander Herrera joined Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer without any midfield signings being made in the summer.
Paul Pogba is out injured until December and Nemanja Matic is being linked with a move away from United to Inter Milan, SkySports report. It’s time to cash in.
The 31-year-old has been picked to start just two league games, and is now suffering with injury.
It has left United short of options with a lot of the pressure falling on the ever growing and maturing Scott McTominay, who is currently being partnered with the inconsistent Fred.
Let’s take a look at how Doucoure compares to Soumare and United’s Fred.
Out in front this season
Doucoure is the only man to score this season with his goal in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham. The Frenchman is averaging 1.7 shots per game compared to Fred’s 1.2, with Soumare averaging 0 shots.
Watford’s midfielder is winning 1 aerial duel per game, Fred 0.2 and Soumare 0.5.
Doucoure is a box-to-box midfielder who has the versatility to play as a defensive midfielder or as an attacking midfielder making driving runs forwards.
United’s Brazilian is averaging 2.3 tackles per game, the same as Doucoure, with Soumare making 0.8. When it comes to interceptions, Doucoure comes out on top with 1.2 per game, whilst Fred and the young Lille star both average 0.8.
One area that Soumare thrives ahead of his compatriot and United’s number 17 is how many times he gets dribbled past per game, the 20-year-old averages 0.3, whereas Doucoure’s 1.5 and Fred’s 2.3.
From an attacking aspect, Doucoure is currently producing 1.2 key passes per game, Fred and Soumare both average 0.5.
The French pair both have the dribbling ability to turn defence into attack. Doucoure averages 1.2 dribbles per game, Soumare 1.4, Fred is only making 0.3.
Doucoure dominates the passing department, he is averaging 57.7 passes per game, with Fred making 34.7 and Soumare 33.3.
Doucoure is producing impressive numbers in a team that is propping up the Premier League table.
Should United test Watford’s resolve in January?
Despite Doucoure having four years left to run on his current contract, if Watford’s poor form continues and they get cut adrift at the bottom of the table, the club’s hierarchy may have to consider the financial implications relegation could bring.
This is where United need to be savvy and potentially take advantage in January, Watford maybe forced to accept a cut price for Doucoure.
In his last two seasons in the Premier League, Doucoure has shown that he is no one season wonder and is ready to make the step up at a big club.
In the 2017/18 season, Doucoure missed just one game, he scored 7 times and registered four assists.
Last season, the Frenchman scored 5 times and made 6 assists in 35 appearances.
Doucoure might not be Solskjaer’s long-term target, but there is no denying United are crying out for more depth and quality in centre of the park. Watford’s star man could prove to be a shrewd piece of business from the Norwegian.
It might be sporting suicide for Watford to sell him in January, but if they get relegated as is currently being projected, there could be a bargain for United at the end of the season.
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