Patrick Vieira did not hold back when he spoke out in favor of Cheick Doucoure, a recent addition to Crystal Palace, whose attorney has accused many persons connected to his transfer of engaging in blackmail and attempted extortion. For €22.5 million (£19 million), plus €5 million in bonuses, Doucoure moved to Palace from Lens; but, according to his attorney Alexis Rutman, the player has been under pressure since since it was revealed that he would be moving to England. In order to recoup money from his move, middlemen are said to have made exorbitant demands of the Malian midfielder and his agent.
Rutman claims the middlemen have told them they would demonstrate false evidence that Doucoure has a double identity if they don’t receive significant payments. In a statement, published with the support of Crystal Palace and the Malian football federation, Doucoure and his entourage explained that they are “victims of blackmail and an attempt to extort funds from several individuals acting in concert (a player’s agent and a photographer, supported by a journalist), obviously baited by the profits supposedly generated by this transaction”. In the same document, provided by Rutman, the player and his agents denounced the use of “false evidence” that would allow these individuals to “claim that the player has dual nationality”. “(They) demand the payment of a sum of money in return for their silence,” Rutman wrote. “Several Whatsapp messages to this effect, accompanied by false documents, have been sent to my client and his entourage over the past few days. This situation is very serious and obviously unacceptable.” Doucoure and the Blackskill agency have already planned legal action “both on the criminal and civil level” against these individuals and have asked for people who “would support or relay, in any form whatsoever, such actions and/or such slanderous accusations”.
The Crystal Palace manager spoke out against the event and supported Doucoure. “I talked to the lawyer as well as to him. Naturally, the player has the full backing of myself and the team. He cannot tolerate this as a player, and neither can our football club, “Before their preseason matchup with Manchester United on Tuesday in Australia, he remarked during a news conference. In order to fill the void left by Conor Gallagher, who has returned to Chelsea after a season-long loan stay at Selhurst Park, Vieira made the former Lens midfielder a priority signing.