Crystal Palace: £21m star 'needs more time' to make impact at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira

Crystal Palace’s summer signing Cheick Doucoure was brought in to play as a ‘deep-lying playmaker’, according to The Sun journalist Tom Barclay.

The highly-rated 22-year-old arrived from RC Lens last month following an outstanding 2021/22 campaign with the French outfit, earning himself a move to the Premier League.

What is the latest news involving Dourcoure?

Sky Sports reported in July that Palace had secured the signature of the midfielder after paying Lens an initial £18 million for Doucoure with the fee potentially rising to £21m in add-ons.

The Mali international joins winger Malcolm Ebiowei, goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and versatile defender Chris Richards as the new arrivals in Patrick Vieira’s first-team squad.

“I’m very happy, I feel a lot of joy and a lot of pride to be a Palace player,” Doucoure told club media upon his arrival. “I’m proud to be at Palace today.”

Palace chairman Steve Parish added: “Cheick’s arrival is yet another statement of intent, demonstrating our ambition to further improve the squad this summer.”

What has Barclay said about Doucoure?

When asked if Palace needed to bring in a defensive midfielder alongside Doucoure, Barclay informed GiveMeSport that he is ‘not sure about that’ and urged people to give him time.

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In an interview with GMS, he said: “I mean, I’m not sure on that. It’s only one game, he’s a new player to the league, so you’ve got to give him a bit of time.

“But my understanding was that Doucoure was going to come in and be more of a deep-lying playmaker so they could play in a slightly different way, dictate possession a bit more compared to when they’ve had Kouyate or Milivojevic in that role over the years.”

Where is Doucoure likely to play?

Doucoure racked up a very respectable five goal contributions in 34 Ligue 1 appearances from a largely defensive-minded role at the base of the Lens midfield last term. But his underlying numbers were far more impressive.

As per FBref, the youngster ranked in the 96th percentile for progressive passes, 93rd for progressive carries, and the 87th for interceptions compared to his positional peers over the last year.

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In Palace’s opening fixture against Arsenal, Doucoure played alongside Jeffrey Schlupp in a double pivot, allowing the more attack-minded Eberechi Eze the freedom to play further forward.

Doucoure could line up in a similar role against Liverpool this evening when Palace make the trip to Anfield in what could be a tough encounter for Vieira’s charges.

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