‘I was close to leaving’ – £22m Everton man makes January exit admission

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

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure was close to leaving the club when Frank Lampard was in charge. Now, he is quintessential to Sean Dyche’s system and continues to shine under the former Burnley manager.

The Malian was signed in 2020 under Carlo Ancelotti for £22m to rejuvenate the midfield and provide energy in the lackluster engine room. His superior box-to-box qualities and tenacity made him a unique player to have at Everton. He was a regular part of Ancelotti’s midfield as well as Rafa Benitez’s midfield.

Doucoure’s job was to provide an extra option in attack when possible and remain an outlet in the midfield. His dynamism and hard working attitude did get him applause but in some games his decision making and passing came into question. In the summer, Everton signed Amadou Onana, Idrissa Gueye and James Garner, throwing Doucoure’s position in doubt.

Abdoulaye Doucoure was close to leaving Everton

Alex Iwobi started operating magnificently in the midfield, further limiting Doucoure’s chances of getting game time under Lampard. Then, there was a reported fall out between Lampard and Doucoure, after which, the Malian midfielder was training alone.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it looked like the end of the road for Doucoure at Everton. Lampard no longer counted him as an important part of the team, leaving Doucoure with no choice but to think of his future elsewhere. The 30 year old admitted recently that he was close to leaving the club.

"“I was close to leaving. But in the end I stayed and I’m very happy because I never wanted to leave. I’m happy to be here and play and keep this team up. A lot of people maybe saw me [leaving Everton] but I always loved this club, I always want to fight for this club, play for this club. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this opportunity for almost six months but I knew there was going to be light at the end of the tunnel.” (via Sky Sports)"

When Dyche came in and wiped the slate clean, Doucoure was given a fresh start and he did not miss the chance to impress the former Burnley boss. Doucoure’s profile and characteristics certainly fit well in Dyche’s system and he has not given a chance for Dyche to think about dropping the 30 year old midfielder.

"“I kept working hard and when Sean Dyche was appointed I was very happy and I just thought, ‘I’m going to have another opportunity and [will] show in training [what I can do]… and it has worked well for me so far.”"

Doucoure’s deal expires at the end of the season but the club could trigger a one year extension. It is now a real possibility as the Mali international continues to be a key part under Dyche’s regime at Goodison Park.

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Will Abdoulaye Doucoure continue at Everton beyond this season?