Crystal Palace have reportedly submitted their first offer for Lens midfielder Cheick Doucoure.
According to French journalist Marc Mechenoua, the Eagles have tabled an offer of around £14.5million for the Mali international, who is said to be keen on a move to south London and has a keen admirer in manager Patrick Vieira. The sticking point in the move is currently the transfer fee, with Mechenoua also reporting that Lens are holding out for a fee of around £21million for their midfielder.
Doucoure still has two years left on his current deal at the Estadio Bollaert-Delelis so the power remains firmly with the French club, though this latest update shows Palace isn’t going away any time soon in their pursuit of the 22-year-old. The south Londoners are targeting a defensive midfield to boost their options in the middle of the park, with Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur both into their 30s while Cheikhou Kouyate is still locked in talks over a new deal.
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That leaves Vieira short on options in holding midfield, and a young, dynamic player to fill the position is high up on the agenda at Selhurst Park this summer. Doucoure has been the number one choice for that role and would go straight into the starting XI should a move to the club materialise this summer.
French outlet L’Equipe reported last week that personal terms between Doucoure and Palace were already agreed and that the transfer fee was the only thing stopping the move from currently progressing further, backing up the latest update out of France via Mechenoua.
Palace chairman Steve Parish and sporting director Dougie Freedman oversaw a busy summer last year when helping rejuvenate the Crystal Palace squad following Roy Hodgson’s departure as manager, with around £60million spent on new recruits. This summer isn’t expected to see as heavy an outlay come from the Eagles, though it doesn’t seem they will shy away from a deal with Doucoure despite Lens sticking firm with their asking price.
Elsewhere, the club are reportedly looking at a move for Derby County teenager Malcolm Ebiowei but face competition from Manchester United. The 18-year-old forward made his breakthrough for the Rams during the 2021/22 season under Wayne Rooney but sees his contract expire at the end of the month.
Palace already signed Luke Plange from Derby in January for a reported fee of £1million and could now swoop to secure another of the club’s talented youngsters following their recent relegation to League One. According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Palace are ‘leading the race’ to sign Ebiowei along with United though there is also interest from abroad courtesy of AS Monaco.