Crystal Palace close to signing
Image Credit: Sky Sports

Foot Mercato reports that Crystal Palace are ramping up their chase of Cheick Doucoure, and that Lens plans to replace the £18 million midfielder.

Crystal Palace has reportedly been in talks with Doucoure for over two months.

With just two years left on his contract, the Mali international has already agreed to personal terms with the Selhurst Park team, and Lens are unlikely to stand in his way.

Crystal Palace allegedly had “intensified conversations” with Lens executives, according to Foot Mercato. Doucoure appears to be closer to joining Crystal Palace than he was after an earlier £14 million approach was rejected by Lens, who are demanding £18 million for the forward.

Especially considering the £4 million transfer fee paid by the Ligue 1 surprise packages to get his replacement, Salis Abdul Samed, from top-flight rivals Clermont.

“For me, he is one of the best number sixes in Ligue 1,” says Marseille legend Eric Roy.

“He has everything to evolve in this position; An extraordinary football IQ, a fantastic first touch, technical ability and he recovers a lot of balls. And beyond that, he’s a boy with a great mentality, who constantly wants to progress.

“With him, you can’t go wrong.”

Patrick Vieira apparently has the all-action enforcer Doucoure pegged as his top summer transfer priority and is reportedly “passionate” about the player.

A man who is known for recovering the ball and then racing into the final third with nitrous-powered acceleration has more than a little of the Vieiras about him.

Sam Johnstone, a goalkeeper who just left West Bromwich Albion, has signed a four-year contract with Crystal Palace. Also on their way is Malcom Ebiowei, who has rejected Manchester United in favour of the Eagles.

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