Liverpool headed into pre-season believing that veteran midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson would both be part of the squad for the upcoming 2023-24 season, giving the Reds a strong option for the six in Fabinho and emergency cover in Henderson.
Within that framework, links to promising 19-year-old Southampton defensive midfielder Roméo Lavia made sense. Now, though, with Fabinho and Henderson both set to abandon the Reds in favour of a Saudi Pro League payday, the math has rather changed.
Now, Liverpool would seem to need a starter for the six. A player ready to start from day one. And into that new framework, a new name has emerged: 23-year-old Crystal Palace and Mali midfielder Cheick Doucoure. However, Doucoure won’t come cheap.
Reports of Liverpool interest have come hand in hand with reports of Palace’s valuation of the player they bought from Ligue 1’s Lens in a £23M deal last summer, and that valuation is said to be three times what they paid for the player a year ago—or around £70M.
It’s a steep fee for a player with 34 Premier League games under his belt and whose statistical profile with Lens arguably looked better than at Palace, where his on the ball numbers have dipped due either to improved opposition or coaching demands.
There are also questions about whether Doucoure is too eager to go to ground for how Liverpool play. It’s inarguable, though, he has strong numbers as a destroyer, and given the limited options on the market it’s easy to see why the Reds might be interested.