There are few players as crucial to Everton’s success in manager Sean Dyche’s system as Abdoulaye Doucoure. The box-to-box midfielder’s indefatigable running and incredible energy levels make him the perfect fit for what Dyche has in mind for the role of the advanced midfielder playing behind the centre forward in the 4-5-1 formation that he has instituted at the Toffees.
Doucoure joined the Blues in 2020 on a three year deal with an option to add one more, but Everton have wisely chosen to work out a new deal with the 30-year-old that will keep him at the club until 2025. This is a departure from previous years when they have given longer-term deals to ageing players that has then gone on to become a millstone around the club’s neck.
The Mali international is one of the club’s higher-paid players, and it will not be a surprise if his wages were not reduced as part of extending the player’s time on Merseyside. A number of different websites report his weekly salary at £120,000 though other sources close to the club indicate it might be closer to the £75,000 amount.
Doucoure is not without his detractors though, with his heavy-footed playing style meaning he often misses as many chances as he capitalizes on on his way to scoring three goals this season. However, given his durability and how well he fits in Dyche’s system, this is a smart extension for the club to make given the Blues’ financial position.
In all, he has had 108 appearances for the Toffees scoring 13 goals with 10 assists, though none arguably none have been as important as his fearsome volley on the last day of last season to give Everton a 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth and seal Premier League survival. Critically, of the five goals he bagged last campaign, every one of them came after the arrival of Dyche at Goodison Park, understating the important role Doucs has played under the former Burnley manager after finding himself sidelined by Frank Lampard before that.
(1) new message from Abdoulaye Doucouré pic.twitter.com/qHx9JcA7BJ— Everton (@Everton) November 3, 2023
Speaking after signing the new deal, Doucoure said -
“I love Everton and I’m very happy to extend my stay here and look forward with the Club.
“It was a very easy decision to make. I love all the people around the Club and all the fans who have shown me so much love in the past couple of months. My wish was to stay here and continue to enjoy my time with Everton.
“It means a lot to stay here. I always fight for this club and I’ve always been in love with this club. I’ve always wanted to stay at Everton. The fans’ support has been incredible and I can’t thank them enough for all the support they give me.
“I want to keep playing, I want to keep learning and I want to keep fighting for the badge and for the Club.”
Doucoure went on to add about Dyche -
“It changed everything when the manager came in. Everyone saw my quality and I think I showed everyone what I’m capable of. I can’t thank the manager and Kevin enough. They’ve done an incredible job to keep me here and I’m very happy to work with them.
“I feel very good. I think all of my teammates and all the staff and everyone all around the Club has supported me a lot and given me good advice. I feel in shape and believe I can play even better football.
“I think signing my new contract shows the Club is going the right way. The team is doing very well at the moment. We are confident and we know the team is very good. We feel very confident and we want to look forward.
“We want to put Everton where it belongs, to be honest. We want to be higher up in the table, and obviously, we are in a good spot in the Carabao Cup as well.
“I want to give everything and compete every week for Everton.”
On the midfielder extending his stay, Dyche said -
“I have long been an admirer of Doucs’ qualities and, from the moment I became Everton manager, I was keen to get him into our team and for him to show what he can do.
“He repaid that decision with some excellent performances and crucial goals, not least the winner on the final day of last season which sealed our objective for that campaign to stay in the Premier League.
“Doucs has continued to impress this season and we are confident he will remain an integral part of our squad going forward.”
Director of Football Kevin Thelwell continues to work on strengthening the Blues squad, not just for this season but looking ahead too.
“We are delighted Abdoulaye has agreed to extend his stay at Everton.
“He has a deep connection with the Club and has thrived working under Sean and his coaching staff, scoring some crucial goals and giving his all every time he puts on an Everton shirt.
“He has been a key part behind the team’s clear progress this season and we look forward to him continuing to show his talent and helping us move in the right direction.”