Premier League • England

Everton raided for Jordan Henderson replacement as Fabrizio Romano reveals Al-Ettifaq approach

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jordan Henderson

Abdoulaye Doucoure could replace Jordan Henderson at Al-Ettifaq

Al-Ettifaq have identified Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure as a target to replace Jordan Henderson, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Henderson recently brought an end to his brief spell in Saudi Arabia by leaving Al-Ettifaq and returning to European football with Ajax. Now, Steven Gerrard is looking to replace the man who succeeded him as Liverpool captain.

This time, the solution could come from the other side of the Merseyside divide. Romano has revealed that Al-Ettifaq have approached Everton regarding Doucoure, who has become a top target.

Not only have the Saudi Pro League outfit contacted Everton, but they have also touched base with Doucoure’s representatives.

On that front, the player’s stance on his future is yet to be determined. As for the club, though, Everton want to keep Doucoure as a key player.

After all, Everton are also dealing with exit speculation for midfield colleague Amadou Onana, so they will have to be careful not to leave themselves light in the middle of the park.

The fact they only have Doucoure under contract until the end of next season, though, could be concerning.

In fairness, it was only back in November that the Mali international committed to his updated contract with Everton.

Doucoure has played in 18 Premier League matches for Everton this season, scoring six goals – which actually makes him their leading marksman this term.

Since joining the club from Watford in September 2020, he has amassed 116 appearances and 16 goals across all competitions.

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At the age of 31, Doucoure is still a dependable player at Goodison Park. Understandably, Sean Dyche would not want to lose him – especially when Everton’s financial situation makes it unlikely they would be able to sign anyone better for less.

However, various players have been tempted by a move to the Middle East in recent months. Only time will tell if Doucoure would be interested in such a challenge too.

Doucoure could reunite with former Everton forward

A move to Al-Ettifaq would reunite him with former Everton teammate, Demarai Gray, who joined Gerrard’s side in September.

Al-Ettifaq are currently eighth in the Saudi Pro League. Despite failing to win a match since October, they have recently extended Gerrard’s contract as head coach.

They will be hoping his appeal can help them be competitive when pursuing players from Premier League and European clubs.

Other than Gray, some of their more recognisable players after Henderson’s departure include Georginio Wijnaldum (the new captain) and Moussa Dembele.

It would be alongside Wijnaldum in midfield that Doucoure would be used. Gerrard has been varying between a 3-4-3 and 4-5-1 formation in Al-Ettifaq’s recent matches.

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