Marcel Brands could give Carlo Ancelotti his own version of Dayot Upamecano by launching a bid for Everton to sign Valenciennes defender Ismael Doukoure.
According to La Voix des Sports, via Sport Witness, Valenciennes owner Eddy Zdziech is expected to demand a record-setting fee to sell Doukoure at the end of the season.
The 17-year-old centre-half is understood to be a target for a host of Europe’s elite clubs after impressing in Ligue 2 this term, and it is not likely to be long before he is on the move.
Everton are one of the sides credited with an interest in Doukoure, but they could face rival Premier League interest from Leicester City and Arsenal.
Spanish giants Barcelona, Italian powerhouse Juventus and German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach are said to be just a few of the European outfits currently keen too.
Recent reports in France have also claimed that RC Strasbourg have already made an approach to the teenager’s agent to sound out his interest in a move to the Meinau Stadium.
But any side wishing to land Doukoure’s services this off-season faces having to pay Les Atheniens more than the €5m (£4.5m) that MLS franchise LA Galaxy recently paid for Kevin Cabral.
The winger’s move to the United States set a new club record for the departure of a player from the Stade du Hainaut, but that record is expected to be short-lived with Doukoure thought to be worth between €6m-€8m (£5-7m).
Everton would no doubt be purchasing Doukoure with a view to the 5 ft 11 defender being a player for their future, though that should not stop Brands from spending a modest sum on the Valenciennes product.
Olivier Guegan only awarded Doukoure his Les Atheniens debut in October but the teenager has already established a key role for himself at the Stade du Hainaut and has now started 10 of his 17 appearances across all competitions.
Doukoure’s efforts in Ligue 2 and for the French side’s academy ranks have also drawn comparisons with Upamecano – who Bayern Munich have paid £37m to sign from RB Leipzig this summer – for his precocious talents and positional awareness.
Doukoure has also been attracting widespread interest, firstly given his age, but also because he is considered to be solid in duels and boasts good technique on the ball.
If Everton miss out on signing Doukoure this summer for between £5-7m, they may have to face a similar hike in valuation in a few years’ time to what Bayern have for Doucoure, who RB Leipzig acquired for €10m (£8.5m) in 2017 after just half a season with RB Salzburg.
AND in other news, Everton have been tipped to sign a £25m star once dubbed “a freak of a talent”…