Watford have broken their transfer record to sign Rennes midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and immediately sent him out on loan. The Frenchman has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal but will spend the rest of the season at Granada, the Spanish club also owned by the Pozzo family. It is understood the deal could be worth as much as £8m, which would eclipse Watford’s previous transfer record of £6.1m – the fee they paid to sign Nordin Amrabat from Malaga in January.
Watford chief executive Scott Duxbury said: “The opportunity to sign Abdoulaye Doucoure now was one we wanted to act upon, given our long-standing interest in the player. “He is very much part of Watford’s future plans, and in the time between now and pre-season he’ll be experiencing high-level competitive football in Spain.” Doucoure, 23, made his Rennes debut in 2012 and has represented France at five age group levels up to U21. He is the fourth major arrival of the window at Vicarage Road following deals for Costel Pantilimon, Amrabat and Mario Suarez.