‘I was close to leaving’ - Fulham transfer target reveals he nearly left current club in January

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Latest news on the transfer front involving Fulham emerges as they prepare for their next Premier League game

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has admitted he was close to leaving in the January transfer window amid links to Fulham. The 30-year-old fell out of favour at Goodison Park under their former boss Frank Lampard but has found his place back in the side now under Sean Dyche.

The Cottagers identified the Mali international as a target earlier this winter, as per a report by the Evening Standard. Marco Silva worked with him at Watford but a reunion at Craven Cottage didn’t happen in the end and he stayed put.

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Fulham instead swooped to sign Serbia international Sasa Lukic from Serie A club Torino to bolster their options in the middle of the park. He has since made a couple of appearances for the London club and will compete with Harrison Reed and Joao Palhinha for a place in the team.

Doucoure has revealed he was nearly on the move and has told Sky Sports: “I was close to leaving. But in the end I stayed and I’m very happy because I never wanted to leave. I’m happy to be here and play and keep this team up.

“A lot of people maybe saw me [leaving Everton] but I always loved this club, I always want to fight for this club, play for this club. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this opportunity for almost six months but I knew there was going to be light at the end of the tunnel.”

He added: “I kept working hard and when Sean Dyche was appointed I was very happy and I just thought, ‘I’m going to have another opportunity and [will] show in training [what I can do]… and it has worked well for me so far.”

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Doucoure’s contract expires at the end of this season but Everton hold an option to extend his stay by 12 months. Time will tell whether Fulham rekindle their interest in him down the line but for now his focus will be on staying up in the top flight.

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