Watford reject Everton’s £30m bid for Doucouré and close in on Sarr | Football
Watford do not plan to accept any offer from Everton for Abdoulaye Doucouré, having rejected a £30m opening bid for the 26-year-old midfielder that fell some way short of convincing them to change their minds.
The Everton manager, Marco Silva, worked with Doucouré during his time at Vicarage Road and has turned to the Frenchman after losing Idrissa Gueye, who has moved to Paris Saint-Germain. But Watford are unprepared to sell to a Premier League club outside the established top six, and though the player has spoken publicly of a desire to move to a bigger club, Everton do not at present represent a sufficient upgrade on his current employers.
In January Doucouré said that he anticipated leaving Watford this summer in search of European football. “The club are aware of my ambitions and want to help me go up a level,” he said. “The most important thing for me is to continue improving and through my performances I hope I can join a club playing at European level. My priority is a club in the Champions League.” Everton will not play in Europe this season.
The Frenchman moved to Watford three years ago, and after a troubled start – his first-team debut came five months after he joined the first-team squad, by which time he would already have returned to France had the required paperwork not been filed fractionally late – has become a key player, forming an impressive partnership with Etienne Capoue at the heart of midfield.
Everton have spent £82m this summer on Jonas Lossl, Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Moise Kean, and intend to strengthen their squad further before Thursday’s transfer deadline. “We need some more players,” Silva said at the weekend, before Kean’s arrival was confirmed. “We have to look for one winger. We have to look for one central defender. Let’s see in the middle zone if we do something more or not. Then a possible striker and right-back. It has to be a really busy week.”
Watford meanwhile have spent only £5.5m, on the West Bromwich Albion defender Craig Dawson. Their priority this week is to sign a winger, with long-running negotiations for Ismaïla Sarr likely to conclude over the next 48 hours following the player’s return from holiday, delayed by his participation with Senegal in the African Cup of Nations.