ARSENAL have reportedly lost out to Crystal Palace in the transfer chase for Lens star Cheick Doucoure.
The 22-year-old has been in fine form in the French side’s midfield last term.
He provided four assists and one goal in his 34 Ligue 1 appearances, sparking interest from the Premier League.
Now The Guardian claims that it is Palace that are winning the race to sign him after they agreed an initial £18million fee with Lens.
Doucoure is now allegedly set to agree a five-year contract at Selhurst Park after agreeing personal terms.
The Eagles have been looking to secure the transfer for several months and had an initial £14m offer rejected last week.
However, they have returned with an improved bid which could potentially end up being worth over £22m depending on performance related add-ons.
The move will come as a bitter blow to Arsenal, who launched a late move earlier this month, but a major boost for Palace boss Patrick Vieira.
He has lost Conor Gallagher from his midfield after the England international returned to Chelsea following his season-long loan.
Cheikhou Kouyate’s future is also up-in-the-air after he failed to agree an extension to his contract, which expires this month, with clubs in Turkey keen on the 32-year-old.
Captain Luka Milivojevic is also set to become a free agent, although James McArthur has signed an extension.
Vieira, who spent nine years playing at Arsenal, wants to build on his impressive first season in charge at Selhurst Park with another statute addition.
He has known Doucoure for several years since his time in charge of Nice.
And Vieira believes that the player would have no trouble adapting to the Premier League.
The star headed to Lens’ academy from Real Bamako in his homeland back in 2018.
He burst into their first-team during the promotion-winning 2019/20 campaign.
And Doucoure has gone on to shine since in Ligue 1 over the past two seasons.