£22.5 million Everton player changes nationality ahead of crucial FIFA World Cup play-offs

Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images) /

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has decided to switch nationality. The Everton midfielder played for France U-21 and has remained a French international since birth. The player was born in France to Malian parents, making him eligible to play for Mali as well.

After playing at the U-21 level, Doucoure was targeting a spot in the France national team. In 2019, he was approached by the federation of Mali to switch allegiance and represent Mali in international matches but the midfielder rejected the approach.

Doucoure moved to Everton from Watford, and was flourishing in the Premier League, questions rose again over his nationality. In February 2020, Doucoure admitted that he was targeting a place in the French national team but also remained open to the possibility of playing for Mali.

Later in September 2020, Mali named the Everton player in their initial squad list, calling up the dynamic midfielder for matches against Iran and Ghana but the French born midfielder rejected the offer and stated his desire to play for France under Didier Deschamps.

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure changes allegiance to Mali

In an interview in late 2020, Doucoure revealed that his goal was to represent France and even though he was eligible to play for Mali, the Everton man was ready to wait for his first senior France call up.

"Yes, I saw that they had placed me in their list, but I had already told them that today, the France team was my goal and that I was not ready to come to Mali. This is not the right time to represent Mali. My goal has always been the French team, I was born in France, I have my ties in France. I also have ties to Mali, in my parents’ country, which is why I help a lot whenever I can. (via African Football)"

Almost 15 months have passes since that and Doucoure continues to be overlooked by Deschamps. Cutting into the French midfield is now a more challenging task than ever given the emergence of Aurélien Tchouaméni, Jordan Veretout, Adrien Rabiot along with the omnipresent N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.

Earlier this month, Mali FA President Baviuex Touré was talking to Doucoure to change his mind and in turn change his allegiance to Mali. Mali were reportedly hopeful that Doucoure will change his nationality to Mali before the FIFA World Cup play-offs in March.

"We are in negotiations for the arrival of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Moussa Dembele and Cheick Doucoure. By the end of the week, we will have a result. (Mali President Toure via Liverpool Echo)"

Finally, some positive news in pursuit of Doucoure as journalist Saddick Adams has given an update on Doucoure’s situation. As per him, Mali has convinced Doucoure to change his nationality. Furthermore, Mali are working to convince Dembele and Ibrahima Konate to change allegiances as well.

Mali play Tunisia on 25th and 29th March and the winner over the two legs will qualify for the FIFA World Cup. With Doucoure changing his nationality, he is now one step away from playing in the FIFA World Cup.

Next. Amount of wages CSKA Moscow will cover for Everton midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin revealed. dark

Will Abdoulaye Doucoure be a success for Mali?