Would Abdoulaye Doucoure start for every team in the Premier League?
Without need for much debate, the answer is ‘most definitely’ for every team not in the top six — but what about the big boys?
Arsene Wenger has something of a luxurious problem on his hands in trying to fit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the same team but in Granit Xhaka he has a more concerning issue.
Replace the error-prone Swiss international with Doucoure, whose decision-making is first-class, and Arsenal’s starting XI would be greatly improved.
We’d even go as far as to say that the Watford midfielder would be a better fit for the Gunners than Aaron Ramsey.
Mauricio Pochettino could do much worse than replacing Mousa Dembele with a younger model.
Doucoure’s ball retention has improved further this season and his box-to-box style would suit Spurs.
You can’t help but feel he’d be a huge asset for Pochettino, particularly in away games against the other ‘top six’ clubs.
Chelsea would certainly prefer Doucoure to the desperately disappointing Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The contrast between the two Frenchmen couldn’t have been greater on Monday night when the ex-Monaco player was sent off after a dismal half an hour during the Hornets’ emphatic 4-1 win over the Blues.
While Bakayoko seemed to struggle in every aspect of the game, Doucoure just went about his business in a professional manner and put in an effortless masterclass.
He’d start for Liverpool as well.
A double-pivot of Doucoure and Naby Keita would cover so much ground.
They could play as two thirds of a midfield three as well, alongside either Adam Lallana or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The problem with Jurgen Klopp’s system is that the gap between defence and midfield is too great — many of the Reds’ individual defensive errors come from over exposure.
With Emre Can set to run out his contract, the German gaffer would be wise to recruit Doucoure for a new-look midfield.
What about Man United?
Fans have been crying out for Jose Mourinho to use 4-3-3 with Paul Pogba given the most creative license of the midfield trio.
With Michael Carrick succumbing to age, Ander Herrera losing his way, and Marouane Fellaini being, well, Fellaini, Doucoure could fit the bill perfectly.
6ft tall with an athletic build, he suits Mourinho’s profile as well.
Now for the ultimate test, Man City.
Pep Guardiola’s troops are on course for a record-breaking title win in terms of points gained this season.
It’s therefore difficult to argue that any of the regulars should be replaced.
At 32-years-old, Fernandinho is approaching the highlight of his career and the demanding nature of Guardiola’s system means young blood may be needed sooner rather than later.
Rumours are Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred is being lined up but City would be foolish to rule out Doucoure without consideration.
In conclusion, we reckon he’d walk into 19 of the 20 Premier League teams… City’s winning formula doesn’t need changing.
25-years-old, comfortable in possession, mercilessly combative — Doucoure is everything a Premier League centre-midfielder should be.
Much like Wilfried Ndidi, he has been underrated up until now.
Best centre-midfielder in the Prem outside the top six? Possibly.
For now at least, he’s Watford’s gem, and the Vicarage Road faithful should enjoy every minute.