Liverpool Zero in on Crystal Palace’s Midfield Dynamo Cheick Doucoure
Liverpool are reportedly ‘exploring a move’ for Crystal Palace defensive midfielder Cheick Doucoure, according to Pete O’Rourke.
The Reds are currently halfway through their midfield rebuild, with Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Sozboszlai already coming through the door for a combined fee of £95 million.
In terms of outgoings, captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are both potentially on the verge of leaving the club for Saudi Arabia, with the latter name currently more likely to depart in a £40 million move.
With Fabinho almost nailed on to leave, Liverpool are heavily expected to sign a defensive midfielder in the coming days with the likes of Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Nice’s Kephren Thuram being linked throughout the window so far.
However, it is Crystal Palace midfielder Cheick Doucoure who is the latest name being linked with a move to Merseyside.
Who is Cheick Doucoure?
Cheick Doucoure is a 23-year-old defensive midfielder, currently playing for Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The Mali international made 35 appearances for the Eagles last season, after his move from RC Lens in the summer of 2022.
34 of those appearances came in the Premier League, where he managed to notch three assists.
Prior to his move to England, Doucoure made 131 appearances for RC Lens across all competitions, scoring eight goals and assisting a further seven.
The youngster has also become a regular fixture in the Mali National Team, with 12 caps to his name.
His injury record is near perfect with Doucoure only picking up two minor issues across the span of his career so far, which saw him miss just four games in total.
Transfermarkt currently values the 23-year-old at around £30 million, but Crystal Palace will likely be reluctant to sell after just one season at the club.
Why are Liverpool interested?
It feels like Liverpool seem to be linked with nearly every defensive midfielder in the top five leagues at the moment, however Doucoure does actually have some attributes that would be valuable to the Reds.
Doucoure is a dominant defensive midfielder, usually operating at the base of a three man midfield which allows more creative players to express themselves and push forward towards the front line.
This is a major factor behind the likes of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise’s fantastic form for Palace last season, which Klopp will be hoping to unlock from Szoboszlai and Mac Allister.
Defensively, Doucoure was one of the more underrated holding midfielders last season and here are some of his numbers from the 2022/23 campaign averaged per 90 minutes.
- Tackles- 2.50
- Blocks- 1.53
- Interceptions- 1.82
- Clearances- 1.56
- Ball recoveries- 7.56
Doucoure is definitely a capable defensive option much like what Fabinho has been for the Reds for multiple years, sitting in front of the back line.
One key difference between the two players though, is that Doucoure is much more mobile and can cover a lot more ground than the Brazilian which was a major criticism of him last season.
However when looking at Doucoure’s numbers on the ball, you can see plenty of negatives within his overall game too.
Here are some of the 23-year-old’s statistics in that department:
- Passes completed- 33.74
- Pass completion %- 83.2%
- Progressive passes- 4.55
- Progressive carries- 0.59
- Goals+Assists- 0.10
Obviously it is important to note that these numbers are never going to be at a world-class standard as long as Doucoure is still playing for a team like Crystal Palace, that doesn’t typically control the ball in many games.
However, just for example these are the statistics of 19-year-old Romeo Lavia who played in a much worse relegated Southampton side last season:
- Passes completed- 34.81
- Pass completion %- 86.2%
- Progressive passes- 4.13
- Progressive carries- 0.89
- Goals+Assists- 0.04
As you can see, the numbers between the two players is very little despite the quality of both teams being a huge difference.
Personally, I would rather spend an extra £15 million and get a much younger and arguably more talented player in Romeo Lavia.
If Fabinho was still at the club, then perhaps Doucoure would be a solid backup option but Liverpool definitely need a player capable of being a regular starter along with Stefan Bajcetic.