Everton have completed the £25 million signing of French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré from Watford FC.
Doucouré, 27, has signed a four-year deal at Goodison Park, and completes a hat-trick of midfield signings after the arrivals of Allan, who joined from Napoli on Saturday, and James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on Monday.
While a number of clubs had shown interest in the midfielder, Doucouré had made it known to the Hornets that he would only join the Toffees. Speaking to Everton’s official website after the deal was finalised, Doucouré was understandably delighted to make the move to Merseyside, saying:
“I have been waiting a long time to come here and now it has happened so I am very happy. I had some interest from other clubs but from the beginning when Everton showed an interest in me I told my agent to focus on Everton.
“It was the only club I wanted to join.
“Everton has a big history in English football and it is a good club for me to have a step up in my career.
“I am very happy now to be an Everton player and very excited for the future.”
Everton were keen to bring Doucouré to Goodison last summer, with former Watford boss Marco Silva looking to reunite with a player he worked with at Vicarage Road, but their reported £35 million bid for him was rejected.
Watford’s relegation from the Premier League last term, though, made the Frenchman available at a lower price, and Carlo Ancelotti has moved to include him in his revamp of an Everton midfield which was painfully supine for much of the previous season.
Doucoure went on to add -
“I can bring my energy - I am a powerful player, I can run a lot, all the game. I can add goals as well. I will try my best to score goals and help the team.
“It is an ambitious project here and it was a big part of my decision, having [Director of Football] Marcel [Brands] and the coach Carlo Ancelotti wanting me.
“When you come to a club you want the manager and, of course, the Board to support you.
“It was the case with Everton and I was very eager to come here.”
After joining Watford from Rennes in February 2016, Doucouré made 141 appearances for the Hornets, scoring 17 goals.
He could be in line to make his Everton debut in this season’s curtain-raiser away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, September 13.