Abdoulaye Doucoure has hailed his time with Watford, describing the period as ‘four wonderful years’.
The Frenchman arrived at Vicarage Road in 2016 before establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s most complete midfielders.
With the Hornets suffering relegation to the Championship last term, Everton swooped in to secure Doucoure’s services on a big-money deal.
In a revealing interview, Doucoure struggled to his his affinity for Watford, but insisted that he know the opportunity to link up with Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park was simply too good to turn down.
Speaking to The Athletic, Doucoure said: “It was hard because I was waiting for so long to sign, I had the interest since the end of the season and I knew they were going to do everything to sign me.
“I’d said to Watford, ‘I need to sign as quickly as possible at Everton before the restart’, because I didn’t want to come back to Watford to train with them because I knew I was going to move.
“I said to them, ‘I don’t want to come back’, but they said, ‘You’re going to have an interesting time because there are other clubs interested in you.’
Did these 17 Watford players ever actually score a league goal for the club?
“But at the end, it was so long because they spoke about one or two million pounds (difference in the asking price) and they spoke about other things, but I was happy to sign my contract and to finally start before the league started and I wanted to play the first game.”
He added: “I did one training (session) with Ivic but after, I said I don’t want to get injured so I need to protect myself because I was in negotiation with Everton.
“I was not happy to train on my own, I would like to sign straight away for (the interests of) both sides. So it was quite long every day, I was talking to Filippo (Giraldi, technical director), to Gino (Pozzo, Watford’s owner).
“The players asked me, ‘When are you going to leave?, ‘Are you still here?’ It was not nice because I couldn’t tell what was going on in the background.
“I spent four years, wonderful years, with them. Even though the last year was not good, I have a good relationship with all of them.”
Abdoulaye Doucoure will always be fondly remembered by Watford supporters.
The midfielder was a consistent performer over the course of his four-year spell with the club, and that will be greatly appreciated.
Of course seeing him leave will not have been pleasant, but few could dispute that he was deserving of another crack at the top flight.