Javi Gracia has challenged Abdoulaye Doucoure to resist a summer switch to the Premier League’s top six and fulfil his European dream with Watford.
Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal have all been linked with a mega-money swoop for the Frenchman who has impressed at Vicarage Road this season.
Doucoure, 25, admitted earlier this week that it would be a dream to play for Liverpool and feature in the Champions League.
But Gracia believes the midfielder should complete his lofty ambitions by leading Watford’s assault on securing European football next season.
“Doucoure is playing for a very big team, and playing in the Premier League, and in the future I would like him to play with Watford in Europe,” Gracia said.
“Maybe in the future he can play with other big clubs who play in the Champions League.
“But what I feel at this moment is that all of our players are proud to belong at this club. They are concentrated on the next match and trying to put the team as high in the table as possible.”
Doucoure has missed only one Premier League match for the Hornets – who host Bournemouth at Vicarage Road on Saturday – this season.
The 25-year-old however, has less than two years to run on his current deal and, after failing to negotiate terms on a new contract, there is a growing inevitability that he will be sold in the summer.
Unsurprisingly Gracia wants the former Rennes midfielder to stay put, but revealed that his uncertain future will be resolved at the conclusion of the season.
“I don’t know his situation at the moment,” Gracia added. “He feels happy playing for Watford, and I wish he will play with us for a long time, but the player decides what is best for his future.
“Doucoure knows he is important, not for me, but for the club and his team-mates. I am only focused on the next seven games and I am sure Doucoure will help us with his best attitude until the end of the season.
“Then we will see what happens, but I would like for him to stay with us for a long time.”