Everton wanted to sign Doucoure, not me – Ancelotti

Nicholas Hughes
Everton wanted to sign Doucoure, not me – Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has praised the impact of Abdoulaye Doucoure at Everton in the Frenchman’s first season at the club.

The 28-year-old arrived from Watford in the summer for an estimated £20 million as Carlo Ancelotti set about strengthening the team’s spine through the middle.

The Italian went about signing Allan, one of his former players at Napoli, but admitted that Doucoure was not a player he initially wanted to sign.

“When we started to talk about the transfer window, Doucoure was on the list of the club,” Ancelotti said.

“He was not on my list, but we talked together and we both agreed to sign him.”

Despite not originally harbouring any interest, Ancelotti hailed Doucoure’s arrival as “fantastic” for the Toffees who currently lie on the cusp of the top four.

Doucoure has scored two goals and registered three assists in 23 games, starting each of Everton’s league encounters bar one due to suspension.

Having initially arrived in England as a defensive midfielder with Watford, Doucoure developed a knack for arriving late in the opposition penalty area with his engine allowing him to engage in the play between both boxes.

Everton reaping rewards from Doucoure’s physicality

Just as good with the ball as he is without it, the Frenchman has been a rock in midfield for the Toffees and Ancelotti has been pleased with his energy all over the pitch.

“Doucoure is really good physically and he’s able to recover really fast, really quick,” he said.

“He has played a lot of games but he is still really good, fresh, and has no problems at all.”

Everton will host Southampton tomorrow, with a win putting them a game outside of the top four with a game in hand on their rivals still to be played.

Ancelotti’s men will have to play four times in less than 14 days with a tough trip to Stamford Bridge to come next week.

The club has never played in the Champions League and has not featured at all in Europe for three seasons, but it appears that Doucoure and co could be about to lead the Toffees back to continental competition.