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Gracia insists Doucoure committed despite Everton interest

Watford boss in damage-control mode after poor start to the season

Watford FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Matthew Impey/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

The tension is slowly starting to build up with words, as it always seems to do recently whenever Everton have to face Watford FC.

Last season the theme was snakes as the Hornets didn’t take too kindly to Marco Silva joining the Blues and then coming back to poach Richarlison, despite adequate compensation changing hands. Watford certainly played the two fixtures against the Toffees like they’d been stung, dominating both games and picking up four points, with only a last gasp stunner of a freekick from Lucas Digne saving Everton’s blushes in one of the games.

This summer Everton made a big bid for midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure in the closing days of the transfer window, thereby raising the ire once again of the Hornets. That was quickly compounded on Saturday when the player clumsily turned the ball into his own goal to hand Brighton & Hove Albion the lead at Vicarage Road. The final score of 3-0 was met with a round of boos and this morning manager Javi Gracia is trying to ease some pressure off his shoulders by bringing up Everton again to get the fans back on his side.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Gracia insists that Doucoure is still fully committed to his cause -

“Yes. I am sure of that. Doucoure is no different from the other players. He is focused every day on trying to improve.

“Is it a statement by Watford to have said ‘no’ to Everton? Yes. Last season they bought one of our best players, Richarlison, and afterwards we got four points in the two games against them.”

Everton were rumoured to have come in with an offer of £32 million for the 26-year-old, but no further interest when that was turned down. Wracked by injuries (Fabian Delph, Andre Gomes) and suspensions (Morgan Schneiderlin) already, the Blues midfield could well have used Doucoure, should he have signed, this coming weekend for the Goodison Park home opener against Watford.

As always, this war of words will only continue to escalate in the lead up to the game.