22 Feb Doucoure warned to keep his focus on Watford
Watford manager Javi Gracia has told midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure to just concentrate on playing well for the rest of the season rather than worrying about what club he might leave for in the summer.
Doucoure has impressed for the Hornets this season, which started out under former boss Marco Silva, scoring seven Premier League goals.
While a guest on a French television channel, the 25-year-old, who joined from Rennes in 2016, said that the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal were all “interested in me”, before maintaining he wanted to finish the season well to help secure Watford’s top-flight place.
Gracia, who was appointed at the end of January, insists there has been no talk about anything other than the job in hand at Watford – which sees Premier League action resume at home against Everton on Saturday.
“I have spoken with him about the movement when we play against Everton, but not about that,” the Watford manager said at a press conference, as broadcast on the club’s official website.
“I do not know if there are other big clubs interested in Doucoure or other players, but if there are clubs interested it is because they are playing well.
“I am interested in them playing well and we will see what happens in the future.”
Watford have not been in action since the Premier League defeat at West Ham on February 10, which left them in 11th place but only four points clear of the relegation zone.
Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes should be available again following a back problem, while Miguel Britos, Will Hughes and Kiko Femenia have all stepped up their recovery from long-term injury problems so may come into contention.
Midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, though, remains sidelined after suffering a fractured kneecap against Manchester City during September.
Gracia told reporters Chalobah, who was expected to be in contention for a place in England’s World Cup squad if fit, “will be injured for a long period”.
Quoted in the Watford Observer, the Spanish coach said: “I am concentrating more on the players who will be able to come back in the next days or weeks and I don’t know how long he will be out for.”
Asked if he thought the 23-year-old would be available again before the end of the Premier League campaign, Gracia added: “I am not sure, I can’t tell you anything about that because I do not know.”