Watford supporters have been reasonably upbeat in recent times after seeing their side extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to four matches at the weekend.
Javi Gracia’s men went into their encounter with resurgent Burnley at Vicarage Road having won one and drawn the other two of their preceding three league matches, and thus seeking to maintain their fine run of form when Sean Dyche’s Clarets visited Hertfordshire. And while the Hornets were unable to record back-to-back league successes, they did the next best thing by earning a point from the encounter in drawing 0-0 with the Lancashire-based outfit, a result which moved them up to seventh place in the Premier League table.
As such, there have been many satisfied Watford fans up and down the country in recent times, and they are likely to be thrilled even more by a recent report from The London Evening Standard which suggests that their side are ‘increasingly confident’ of keeping hold of midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure this month, despite reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
And it was former Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores who sealed a bargain £9.54 million deal (as per Transfermarkt) for the Frenchman back in January 2016, with Gracia very much having compatriot Flores to thank for equipping him with a Watford gem.
Ultimately, Watford fans had to wait some time to see Doucoure in action given he was signed then immediately loaned out to Granada for the second half of the 2015/16 season, while he also struggled to force his way into Walter Mazzarri’s side in the first half of the 2016/17 campaign to suggest that the Premier League outfit may have got it wrong signing him.
Yet the Frenchman quickly proved to everyone just why Watford lured him to the English top-flight in the early phase of 2017, eventually nailing down a spot in Mazaarri’s side by appearing 20 times altogether in the Premier League that season, helping the Hornets avoid relegation for the second successive campaign.
But it was the arrival of Marco Silva that summer that saw Doucoure take it to another level, with the 26-year-old starting the 2017/18 season magnificently with five goals in his first 14 league appearances of the campaign, and Silva’s sacking didn’t seem to affect him either, unlike fellow Hornets star Richarlison, as the Frenchman continued to deliver upon arrival of new boss Gracia.
And that’s because Doucoure flourished in the second half of the season as well with a goal and three assists for Watford as Gracia steered the club towards a mid-table finish – the midfielder’s efforts in their 4-1 success over Chelsea in February 2018 was indicative of a player who has remarkable ability in the middle of the park.
And Doucoure hasn’t let up this time round either with three goals and five assists for the Hornets to help them to seventh place in the Premier League – and if Gracia’s side are to earn the ‘best of the rest’ tag by finishing seventh this season, the 26-year-old is sure to play a vital role in their quest.
Be it on the ball in scoring and creating goals, as has been illustrated above, or indeed off it in breaking up play and anticipating danger in the middle of the park, the former France youth international has it all – there’s a reason PSG are reportedly (as per The London Evening Standard) keen on the midfielder.
And with the Hornets reportedly (as per The London Evening Standard) holding out for £50 million for the Frenchman, it underlines just what a bargain they struck when signing him for £9.54 million three years ago, even if it didn’t look like a steal in his first 12 months at the club.
Overall though, there is little doubting that Gracia has former Watford boss Flores to thank for equipping him with a Watford gem – a gem that looks set to play a crucial part in what success the Hornets have this season.
Watford fans… what do you think? Let us know!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!