Everton contract decision looms as £22 million man impresses under Sean Dyche

Everton (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Everton’s immense win over Arsenal produced some new heroes while also highlighting the rebirth of some players who seemed to have lost their way during this dreadful season. Abdoulaye Doucoure was one of those who had fallen and needed to find his feet again.

When Sean Dyche came in, he wiped the slate clean for everyone, including Doucoure. The Malian was training alone after having fallout with Frank Lampard. The 30 year old midfielder was not part of Lampard’s plans as the English manager consistently chose a midfield of Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi. He was just seen as a squad rotation option and came on during the culminating stages of the game.

Prior to the Arsenal game, the former Watford man had started just two Premier League games, highlighting it in bold that Doucoure wasn’t going to feature in Lampard’s regular plans. The Malian was free to leave the club in January and also had suitors from England and Europe but a move did not materialize.

The midfielder arrived for £22 million in 2020 and was a key cog in Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez’s system. Under Lampard, things didn’t go as per plan and the midfield rejig saw Doucoure lose a place. When Dyche was announced as the new boss, it was expected that a player of Doucoure’s profile could be of immense importance in Dyche’s system.

Everton will have to make Abdoulaye Doucoure contract decision soon

After training well prior to the Arsenal clash, Dyche named Doucoure in the starting eleven, playing behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 4-4-1-1 formation. Doucoure is no playmaker, nor can he thread pinpoint through balls or create chances out of nowhere. He was deployed in that position to overload the midfield when the Gunners applied pressure.

The 4-4-1-1 could very easily transform to a 4-5-1, with the Malian dropping deep and supporting the midfield of Gueye and Onana. The 30 year old has the stamina to run through the midfield and join the attack when required.

Doucoure had 40 touches in the whole game and even had a chance to get on the score sheet, which he missed. When supplementing the midfield, Doucoure made nine recoveries, two key interceptions and completed 20 passes.

The 30 year old playing in the middle gave the Toffees an enhanced physical presence and also helped them cut the opposition attacks by overcrowding the midfield and cutting passing lanes. Doucoure understood his role well and repaid the faith shown by Dyche with a wonderful performance.

Doucoure’s contract situation still remains the same. The 30 year old is out of contract at the end of the season and had Lampard still been in charge, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Doucoure run down his contract and leave Goodison as a free agent in the summer.

Even though it is very early days, under Dyche, Doucoure could have a crucial role in Everton’s relegation scrap. Perhaps, the Arsenal game serves as a blueprint and Doucoure’s presence could be quintessential to this side. If the 30 year old continues to impress under Dyche and results do swing in Everton’s favour, the Toffees might sit down with Doucoure and think of triggering the one year extension in his deal.

Nonetheless, a decision will need to be made as Doucoure is currently free to negotiate with foreign clubs and sign a pre-contract agreement. Doucoure does seem to be reborn but it will be important to see if he can keep up the intensity and become an indispensable part of Dyche’s team.

Next. €15m Everton target could leave in the summer after deciding to stay put on deadline day. dark

Should EFC extend the contract of Abdoulaye Doucoure?