Crystal Palace had given Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher the perfect platform to shine last season. The 22-year-old was by far their best player in the Premier League in 2021/22, receiving a rating of 7.09 via WhoScored, with no other Palace player averaging above a 7.
This summer saw Patrick Vieira attempt to bring the England international back to Selhurst Park, with the club launching a £27m bid for the player late in August.
A potential move didn’t materialise, however, although this was disappointing, the Palace faithful shouldn’t be worried, as they already have an excellent youngster in their midst following a successful summer transfer.
The Mali international moved from Ligue 1 side Lens in the summer and has shown Vieira and the supporters that missing out on Gallagher isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Doucoure joined for £21m, although he was dubbed a “bargain” when he was available for £15m by football writer Casey Evans, his recent performances prove that the extra £6m is just loose change for Palace.
He has settled into life in England with aplomb, receiving a SofaScore rating of 7.17, the second highest in the Palace squad.
The 21-year-old has displayed both his attacking and defensive qualities in equal measure during his brief spell in England so far, ranking high in the squad for various performance indicators.
He has created two big chances (second in the team), made 86% of his attempted passes (third), made one key pass each game (fourth), and made 2.3 tackles per match (joint first) showing that he is already performing to a very high level.
It’s fair to say that Vieira knows his players and Doucoure has already become a sensation despite playing only six Premier League matches so far.
The Palace faithful should not be worried at all about missing out on Gallagher this summer, with the Malian looking like a formidable alternative in the middle of the pitch, being a key component of the team’s engine room.
£21m seemed like a big fee in the summer, but come to the end of the season, this will be mere peanuts for what bigger teams will surely be willing to pay.