Crystal Palace close in on major transfer target after agreeing £18million deal for midfielder

Crystal Palace are closing in on a man they have followed all summer.

Crystal Palace are closing in on a deal with Lens for their dynamic midfielder Cheick Doucouré for a reported fee of £18million.

The 22-year old has been a target for Palace and Vieira all summer and the fact that they are closing in on a deal will boost the team after midfielder Conor Gallagher returned to Chelsea.

Doucouré’s arrival also softens the blow on the current situation that involves Cheikhou Kouyaté, who is yet to sign a contract extension at the club.

Palace have said they are still speaking to Kouyaté  even though the longer the situation drags on and he becomes a free agent, more likely to go elsewhere for more money.

Lens’ Malian midfielder Cheick Oumar Doucoure. Credit: SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images

Doucouré, 22, is already a Mali international and is tipped by many to be the next big thing in football. having helped his side Lens to a seventh-placed finish in the French league last campaign.

The way Patrick Vieira likes to play is a reflection of his playing days and the use of a dynamic midfielder, who is powerful and drives forward, is priceless at the heart of his team.

One of the reasons Conor Gallagher was such a big success was the role he was given, and it is thought that Doucouré would be an upgrade on both Conor Gallagher and Cheikhou Kouyaté.

Palace have been tactful with their summer dealings having already signed Malcolm Ebiowei from Derby while there is the chance that they could get Aaron Wan-Bissaka at least on-loan from Manchester United later in the summer.

Manager Patrick Vieira of Crystal Palace applauds the fans after the Premier League match (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Cheick Doucouré in the French league last season

Doucouré was always going to be a man in demand after playing 2,944 minutes for Lens and wining 43 out of the 57 tackles he made last season.

He also made 68 interceptions and had 11 blocked shots. The midfielder also made 23 clearances and had a passing accuracy of 87%.

His numbers show that he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the French League and a move to the Premier League is a natural step.