While Carlo Ancelotti wanted a number of reinforcements in the summer, few were as important as his new midfielders Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré.
Quickly realising the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fabian Delph and an often injured André Gomes weren’t enough, the Italian set about the task, alongside Marcel Brands, of targeting players he knew would help immediately, which brought him to the now ex-Watford man.
A fee of £20m was paid to the Hornets to convince them to part ways with the Frenchman following their relegation, and Everton have been the beneficiaries of his versatility in midfield ever since.
This was a move the player desperately wanted, as he explained to Onze Mondial in a lengthy interview.
First discussing all about the agents who approached him before the season ended, Doucouré then moved onto how the transfer to Goodison Park took place.
He said: “Everything felt that Watford weren’t necessarily going to stay up so, obviously, Abdoulaye Doucouré was going to leave. All the agents were at the ready. At that point, I discovered that area is quite murky. Agents called me, and in the end, they weren’t good, didn’t eep their promises.
“I did the right thing by being cautious and by continuing the trust of my appointed agent for the past three years. Everything went well with Everton. The relationship was good. It facilitated by integration”.
Asked if Carlo Ancelotti was one of the people behind his arrival at Goodison Park, Doucouré replied: “Yes. Initially, I’ve wanted to come to Everton for the past two years. It didn’t happen for various reasons, but I was always attracted by this club. The fact Carlo speaks French, it made me want to come even more.
“The first time we spoke on the phone, it was in French and the chemistry was immediately there. He’s been in France, he knows Ligue 1, he also knew me from my Premier League games. Therefore, it facilitated my arrival”.
He added: “Everyone appreciates him. I haven’t heard anyone speak ill of him. Even the players who have been benched or that he’s only known briefly have praised him. He’s someone who keeps his group together. He tries to be fair with everyone. Carlo is very invested. He chooses his team on the training pitch during the week and based on performances.
“He gives everyone a chance. He loves competition. He helps his players a lot. He’s a simple person who doesn’t get worked up. He just gives you two to three tips, but very important ones. I wasn’t surprised by how he was, because I only heard good things. I’m very happy to be managed by such a great manager”.