L’Équipe report that work permit issues have been holding up the €27.6m, bonuses included, transfer of Malian international defensive midfielder Cheick Doucouré to Premier League side Crystal Palace from Ligue 1 outfit RC Lens.
During Lens’ 2nd pre-season match on Friday, a 3-0 win over Valenciennes, RCL midfielder Seko Fofana paid homage to Doucouré. RCL retain a 15% sell-on fee percentage. Crystal Palace will pay €22.6m as a base fee, with up to €5m in bonuses included in the agreement.
Fofana had the following to say post-Lens’ friendly match vs Valenciennes:
“These are things that exist in football. We have to be honest: he is irreplaceable. Nobody can replace him. We have brought in quality. But we will have to move on. A guy like him leaving, it feels a bit weird. It is a situation that we have to accept. We cannot let it get to our heads. I wish him nothing but the best for what’s next. He was in my shadow a lot. Maybe because I scored goals. But he brought a lot to the club. He leaves through the entrance door. I have a lot of respect for him. I believe he is one of the best players or the best player that I have ever played with.”
Doucouré has been waiting for a work permit and arrived in London on Friday – he has been given a provisional permit and is waiting for the formal work permit which should arrive on Monday. When that occurs, Palace will make the transfer official, signing him to a 5-year contract. His departure from Lens was unavoidable – Nottingham Forest also made bids to sign the player. Lens will give 30% of the transfer to the Jean-Marc Guillou academy in Abidjan, where the player arrived in North of France from in 2018.
Nottingham Forest attempted to include Doucouré in the Brice Samba transaction.