Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has confirmed that he is being pursued by a trio of heavyweight Premier League clubs in Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool and indicated a preference to work under Arsene Wenger, though insists that he remains focused on finishing the 2017-18 campaign strongly at Vicarage Road.
French box-to-box midfielder Doucoure, signed from Rennes in February 2016 before being immediately loaned out to formerly Pozzo-owned Spanish outfit Granada, has emerged as an integral performer for the Hornets after a difficult spell under Walter Mazzarri, scoring seven goals in 28 appearances across all competitions so far this term.
His eye-catching displays have not gone unnoticed higher up the top-flight food chain, with the Mail reporting earlier this month that Tottenham were set to swoop for his services in the summer after manager Mauricio Pochettino was impressed by the 25-year-old during his trip to watch Watford's shock 4-1 demolition of 10-man defending champions Chelsea.
It was suggested that Spurs could face competition from Liverpool and north London rivals Arsenal for Doucoure, with Watford also supposedly keen to negotiate an extension worth in excess of £60,000-a-week ($83,905) to a contract which is due to expire in 2020.
The publication added that Watford, who originally paid approximately £8m to sign the former French Under-21 international, would demand more than the club-record £20m fee they received from Chinese Super League side Changchun Yatai for striker Odion Ighalo in January 2017 if they were to part company with such a crucial player at the end of the season.
"It's true that these clubs are interested," Doucoure told French football programme Telefoot when asked about that aforementioned trio, per The Mirror. "But I'm at Watford for the moment and I want to finish my season well."
Asked which rival he might prefer to join, he added: "Arsenal, because of Arsene Wenger."
Watford, who currently sit 11th in the Premier League but only four points above the relegation zone after an eventful season to date that saw Marco Silva sacked after only eight months in charge and replaced with Javi Gracia in January, appear to be set for a difficult summer in terms of fending off interest in their most valuable assets.
Richarlison, who hit the ground running in English football after an £11.5m switch from Fluminense, has already been linked with a move to a top-six club and recently refused to rule out the prospect of a high-profile transfer to Chelsea.
"In the future you never know but I leave all things like that up to my agents," he told the Evening Standard. "At the moment my head is completely in Watford. I am not thinking about anything else and I want to help the team get as far as possible in the league. That is my objective, that is my focus and nothing else."