What Everton's decision to award Abdoulaye Doucoure a new deal really means

The Everton midfielder has been rewarded for his strong form but what does the future hold?
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Everton have revealed that midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has signed a new two-year deal at the club, but what does the decision tell us?

Doucoure, 30, had just seven months left on his deal before penning an extension and now he will remain at the club until June 2025.

If one player deserved a new deal, it was Doucoure. Of course, we can point towards his relegation-saving moment against Bournemouth on the final day of last season as his standout moment - which it was - but his overall impact has been a surprise, given where he was before Sean Dyche came in.

He was been revitalised under the former Burnley manager - sometimes a player can just take to a new boss and the two can gel instantly. Doucoure has seen himself pushed further forward since his arrival and he has repaid the faith with eight goals and three assists since netting against Nottingham Forest at the start of May.

While he has been celebrated for his form and he deserves the contract, what it does mean is that the club can now look for a replacement for the ageing midfielder, while also still having him locked down for two more seasons.

The one type of player Everton does not have is a truly creative midfield presence who plays the most advanced of their midfield three. What we've seen in other sides are teams operating with 'number eights' in midfield who are attacking-minded players who also work extremely hard and press, but they are, by nature, attacking midfielders.

Examples include Dominik Szoboszlai at Liverpool or James Maddison at Tottenham; the last time Everton truly had a creative presence in their side was when James Rodriguez was wearing Blue.

The last two seasons have seen Everton finish with 43 goals (2021/22) and 34 goals (2022/23) - both of which were the worst scoring seasons since the 2005/06 campaign.

Currently, he has a selection of strong, box-to-box and defensive midfielders to call upon, but no one who can unlock teams at will or dominate set-pieces with incredible delivery - that will be something the club will need to search for in the long-term.

After penning a new deal, he revealed how happy he was to sign a new deal: “I love Everton and I’m very happy to extend my stay here and look forward with the club.

“It was a very easy decision to make. I love all the people around the club and all the fans who have shown me so much love in the past couple of months. My wish was to stay here and continue to enjoy my time with Everton.

“I want to keep playing, I want to keep learning and I want to keep fighting for the badge and for the club. The fans’ support has been incredible and I can’t thank them enough for all the support they give me.”