Crystal Palace have reportedly placed a £70m price tag on midfielder Cheick Doucoure this summer, amid interest from Liverpool.
In a massively inflated midfield market, with the likes of Declan Rice and Enzo Fernandez going for in excess of £100m, trying to find value is proving increasingly difficult for Liverpool's rebuild — especially since clubs know how desperate the Reds are for more bodies in the middle of the park.
While acquiring Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai for around £95m appears shrewd business, everyone knows the Reds are on the hunt for a defensive midfielder, with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson set to leave.
Doucoure is one name in the frame to take over as Liverpool's next 'number 6'. However, as first reported by the Daily Mail, Crystal Palace see the Malian as a key player and would only consider an offer in the region of £70-£80m.
After just one season in the Premier League, it is a valuation of more than double what Liverpool paid for Mac Allister and potentially only £8m shy (excluding add-ons) of what Real Madrid paid for Jude Bellingham.
How much is Doucoure really worth?
Crystal Palace's 23-year-old defensive midfielder is currently one year into a five year deal, after signing from French side Lens in a deal worth up to £21m last summer.
Doucoure became a key part of the Eagles' midfield, under both Patrick Vieira and Roy Hodgson, as Palace finished 11th in the Premier League in 2022/23.
The Malian played 2,850 minutes across 35 games in all competitions last season, registering three assists along the way, as well as finishing in the 97th percentile for interceptions across all players in Europe's top five leagues – with an average of 1.82 per 90 minutes.
He was even named the Eagles' Player of the Season ahead of Michael Olise and Ebere Eze.
So, how much is the going rate for a player of Cheick Doucoure's quality and age profile?
According to Football Transfers, using their AI-driven xTV (expected transfer value) model, the midfielder's true value is worth between €18.5-30.8m (£16-26.7m) — significantly less than Palace's valuation.
Meanwhile, at his absolute peak performance under Patrick Vieira around November of last year, Doucoure's xTV only ever reached €37.7m (£32.7m) according to the site.
The xTV value is assigned to a player by SciSports and Football Transfers, is generated by a machine learning model that draws on around 600,000 historical transfers to find patterns in the transfer fees paid for transfers. In calculating a transfer value, the system also takes into account information including player age, position, performances, experience and contract among other factors.
How much Liverpool would be willing to pay for Doucoure, however, remains to be seen.