Fulham could face Juventus competition for midfielder after French spying mission
Fulham and Juventus scouts saw Lens’ Ligue 2 win over Chateauroux on Monday amid claims in France that the clubs were watching midfielder Cheick Doucoure.
Doucoure is regarded as Lens’ best player and ripe for a move to a bigger club, but Fulham might be a bit late on the scene for him with the likes of Juventus circling.
Des observateurs de la Juventus et de Fulham en tribunes ce lundi soir. Parmi les cibles, Cheick Doucouré. #RCLLBC
— Sebastien Noé (@Sebastiennoe) September 16, 2019
The Serie A club have had him on their radar for a while – as have Ligue 1 side Nice, who were credited with an interest in Doucoure last term.
Last season, the 19-year-old started in 25 league games, scoring two goals and providing two as he broke through with the Ligue 2 club.
The defensive midfielder almost helped his side to promotion but Lens were beaten in the play-offs by Dijon.
It was a surprise to many that Doucoure, who is under contract with Lens until 2022, was not sold in the summer.
He came through the system at Jean-Marc Guillou’s JMG Soccer Academy in Bamako, Mali and was in his country’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in the summer.
This season, he has made only two Ligue 2 appearances for Lens but looks set to feature regularly as the Sang et Or bid to return to the French top-flight.
Fulham’s scouting team have found a number of talented players in the French lower leagues down the years with current Whites striker Aboubakar Kamara snapped up from second-tier Amiens in 2017.
The recruitment at Craven Cottage is overseen by director of football operations Tony Khan and his assistant directors, James Lovell and Brian Talbot.
Talbot takes responsibility for the live scouting of targets so it will be interesting to see if Fulham continue to follow Doucoure throughout the season.
Boss Scott Parker is not short of options in the centre of his midfield right now with Tom Cairney, Harrison Reed, Harry Arter and Stefan Johnsen in the squad.