Unai Emery and Sven Mislintat must reignite Arsenal’s interest in Watford star Abdoulaye Doucoure before Paris Saint-Germain snatch the Frenchman.
Reports in the Mail Online suggest that PSG are tracking Rennes product Doucoure ahead of a potential £30million swoop.
The 25-year-old has become a key figure at Watford since his first-team breakthrough in 2016, and is being lined up as Adrien Rabiot’s possible replacement in the French capital when the six-cap international’s contract ends.
Everton are also said to be interested in the 6-foot box-to-box midfielder’s services, while north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham have both shown intrigue in the past.
Watford have the former French youth international tied into a deal that runs until June 2023, meaning any club will have to pay highly – and likely beyond Doucoure’s £22.5million TransferMarkt valuation.
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If Emery were to lean on Mislintat to chase the Hornets ace, the Spanish head coach would have the services of one of the Premier League’s best box-to-box midfielders to call on.
This season alone, Doucoure has impacted on seven of Watford’s 25 goals, and is playing a key role at the Vicarage Road outfit residing in seventh place heading into the Boxing Day fixtures.
Under Javi Gracia in the league, the midfielder of Malian descent has featured in every match possible – 17 of the 18 from a defensive midfield role – and has won 43 tackles, registered 16 interceptions and 17 successful dribbles.
His arrival at the Emirates would offer the Gunners what Aaron Ramsey has never been able to, and cover for the Welshman’s eventual departure in the summer when his contract expires.
Ramsey’s lack of defensive nous is likely part of the reason Emery has only trusted the Arsene Wenger favourite in an attacking midfield role and sees his departure as a manageable loss.
Doucoure’s arrival would also put Granit Xhaka’s long-term future in doubt, as the Swiss international has been Emery’s deep-lying playmaker, but features in the role that the French ace would likely fill.
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