Liverpool have been forced to move on in their search for a new defensive midfielder and it is now claimed that Crystal Palace‘s Cheick Doucoure is their main target.
The 23-year-old was named on a shortlist back in July once Fabinho‘s exit was all but confirmed.
The midfielder was watched closely by Liverpool during his time at Lens, which preceded a £21 million move to Palace last summer, and he has since duly impressed.
Doucoure was voted Palace’s Player of the Year by supporters in his debut season at Selhurst Park, playing 35 times – and he has already banked 90 minutes this season in the win at Sheffield United.
Now, after missing out on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, the Independent‘s Miguel Delaney has reported that the Reds have “identified” Doucoure as their next target and are “stepping up their efforts.”
Delaney says the 23-year-old is “likely to be cheaper” than both Caicedo (£115 million) and Lavia (£58 million), though previously his price tag was mooted to be a minimum of £70 million.
It is said that the Malian’s final price could be under £50 million, and, more importantly after two public rejections, he is understood to be “keen to move to Anfield” and personal terms wouldn’t “be an issue.”
Update: Delaney’s report has since been updated from £50 million to £60 million.
With the Reds having seen two targets snub them for Chelsea, the green light from the player will be significant.
Though, Palace will no doubt hold out for the best possible deal after significant departures this summer and they now know how much money the Reds have to play with.
They lost Wilfried Zaha on a free transfer, as well as other senior plays in James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic, while Chelsea have activated the release clause of Michael Olise.
The report also namechecks Fulham‘s Joao Paulinha and Nice’s Khephren Thuram as other midfield options for Liverpool.