Javi Gracia Discusses Abdoulaye Doucoure Future Amid Summer Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Abdoulaye Doucoure of Watford in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Watford manager Javi Gracia has encouraged star midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure to achieve his ambitions at Vicarage Road amid speculation linking him with a host of elite Premier League teams. 

Doucoure has excelled at the heart of the Watford midfield this season, and rumours about his future have gathered pace in recent weeks. When asked about the talk, Gracia said he wants to see the Frenchman remain at the club.

"Doucoure is playing for a very big team, playing in the Premier League and in the future I would like him to play with Watford in Europe," said the manager, per the Press Association (h/t Sky Sports). "Maybe in the future he can play with other big clubs who play in the Champions League. But what I feel at this moment is that all of our players are proud to belong at this club."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Javi Gracia, Manager of Watford makes a point during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

As noted in the report, the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal have been tipped as potential suitors for the talented 25-year-old.

Doucoure has also said he would love to play for the Anfield club. "Liverpool is a club that needs no introduction," he said to Canal+ (h/t Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo) recently. "I was impatient to play there at Anfield, I wanted to feel the atmosphere. For me it would be a dream to play in a club like this." 

Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap is a fan of the player, suggesting he's a standout in the lower reaches of the Premier League:

Neil Atkinson @Knox_Harrington

If we are buying a centre mid from the bottom 14 of this league then I would have this lad every day of the week: https://t.co/BWGOPSqiA5

While Watford have been inconsistent during the 2017-18 season, their French midfielder has shone throughout the campaign.

Doucoure has a number of defensive attributes, as he shuts off space well and wins his fair share of tackles. Still, his game isn't limited to shutting down opposition attacks, as he is adept at pushing forward with the ball and making his presence felt further up the field.

Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News noted that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is also an admirer of the Watford man and provided figures to sum up just how important he has become to the team:

Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh

Arsene Wenger big fan of Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré. Says he’s been a revelation. The stats don’t lie. First among equals. https://t.co/eeYcumqZtk

The Hornets have established themselves in the Premier League, and while there were times under former boss Marco Silva that they appeared capable of breaking into a European spot, at the moment they are down in 11th place in the top flight.

Given the turnover of players has always been high at Vicarage Road, you feel as though a big offer would be tempting for Watford to take in the summer so they can reinvest elsewhere. Doucoure, based on recent quotes, would also seemingly jump at the chance to join one of the division's high-profile outfits.