Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Premier League • England

Crystal Palace strike £22m Doucoure agreement, as Vieira looks to Man Utd, Chelsea transfers next

Cheick Doucoure celebrating scoring for Lens

Crystal Palace are close to landing their Conor Gallagher replacement after agreeing an initial £18m deal for Cheick Doucoure, and their next moves could involve Chelsea or Man Utd, per a report.

Chelsea loanee Gallagher enjoyed a breakthrough season while on loan at Selhurst Park last year. The 22-year-old faded in the season’s late months, though that came as no surprise given the monumental shift he put in prior to Christmas.

But with Gallagher looking like he’ll be retained at Stamford Bridge next season, Patrick Vieira went in search of a suitable replacement.

According to the Guardian, the Eagles identified Lens’ Cheick Doucoure as the perfect successor and have agreed a deal worth an initial £18m.

Palace’s first bid for the central midfielder was reportedly around the £14m mark. That was rejected by the French side, though Palace returned with an £18m bid that could potentially rise to above £22m.

A five-year deal is expected to be signed, though an agreement on personal terms with the Mali international isn’t yet in place.

However, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano – who confirmed many of the Guardian’s details – tweeted negotiations on personal terms are a ‘work in progress’.

Doucoure’s arrival could spark action in Vieira’s midfield ranks. The Guardian add there are doubts over the futures of current midfield trio, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur.

Kouyate is out of contract on June 30. Talks over an extension have stalled and a move to Turkey could be on the horizon. Milivojevic is out of favour under Vieira and the club are concerned by frequent injuries to McArthur.

Next moves involving Man Utd, Chelsea?

Addressing where Vieira will turn to next, the report added moves for Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Levi Colwill cannot be discounted.

Man Utd have let it be known Wan-Bissaka is available for transfer this summer. The Red Devils would prefer a permanent sale, though only Palace – in the form of a loan deal – have registered interest.

The Guardian reaffirm Palace’s interest in a loan move, and that may become United’s only option if interest from elsewhere doesn’t emerge.

Chelsea’s Levi Colwill, 19, has also been linked with the Eagles. The centre-half enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with Huddersfield Town last season and may be available for sale this summer.

Cheick Doucoure part of Viera revolution

Appointing the Arsenal legend was viewed as something of a gamble at the time. Indeed, the club’s decision to appoint a younger and progressive manager in Frank de Boer in 2017 quickly backfired. Palace chiefs then turned to a safe pair of hands in Roy Hodgson to steer them to safety.

Yet Hodgson’s time with an older squad was up and bringing down the average age of the playing staff was a key part of Vieira’s remit.

The signings of Marc Guehi and Michael Olise in particular put Palace on the right track last summer. Gallagher too added youthful exuberance, and he now looks certain to be replaced by the 22-year-old Doucoure.

Malcolm Ebiowei has also arrived this window from Derby County. The 18-year-old forward was snapped up at Manchester United’s expense.