Étienne Capoue (born 11 July 1988) is a French professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Premier League club Watford. Capoue was a French youth international having earned caps at under-18, under-19, and under-21 level, serving as captain for a portion of his stint with the latter team. He is the younger brother of former Boulogne player Aurélien Capoue.
Capoue was born in the commune of Niort in Deux-Sèvres, and began his career playing for hometown club Chamois Niortais. In 2002, he departed the club and joined FC Chauray, a local club in Poitou-Charentes. Capoue stayed at the club for two years before joining Angers SCO in Pays de la Loire. While playing in a youth league match against Toulouse, Capoue drew the attention of the club's scouts who offered the player a one-week trial. Prior to agreeing to the internship, he was also approached by Lille, Auxerre, and Bordeaux. Capoue chose Toulouse because of the club's training facilities and the good weather.
Capoue began his club career with Toulouse in 2006 playing on the club's under-18 team. During the early portion of the 2007–08 season, he played on the club's Championnat de France amateur team in the fourth division making eight appearances. Midway through the season, Capoue was called up to the senior team by manager Alain Casanova. On 8 December 2007, he made his professional debut appearing as a substitute in a 1–0 victory over Lille. The following week, Capoue made his first professional start against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes. Toulouse won the match 2–1 with Capoue playing 71 minutes.
On 7 February 2008, Capoue, along with teammate Cheikh M'Bengue, signed his first professional contract agreeing to a three-year deal until 2011. For the 2008–09 season, Casanova paired the young defensive midfielder with former youth teammate Moussa Sissoko and new signing Étienne Didot, who arrived from Rennes. The trio performed well in the midfield with Capoue flourishing making 36 total appearances. On 18 October 2008, Capoue scored his first professional goal against Bordeaux in a 2–1 defeat. During the season, he also received 14 yellow cards in all competitions, second to only Siaka Tiéné of Valenciennes in the league. For his efforts, he was nominated for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award and awarded a contract extension until 2013 by his club.
During the 2009–10 season, Capoue appeared regularly in the first team and drew interest from Italian club Lazio and Premier League clubs Liverpool and Arsenal. On 26 November 2009, Toulouse responded to the interest by reaching an agreement with Capoue on a one-year contract extension until 2014. Capoue appeared in 41 total matches for the season collecting 17 total yellow cards, 13 of which came in Ligue 1, leading all players.
In July 2013, Toulouse accepted a reported £9.5 million bid from Premier League side Cardiff City. However, personal terms were not agreed and the deal was not finalised. On 15 August 2013, he completed an €11m (£9.3m) transfer to Tottenham Hotspur.
On 15 August 2013, Tottenham Hotspur officially announced the signing of Capoue. The day before the announcement of Capoue, Tottenham and France's first choice goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris told French paper L'Equipe that joining Tottenham is a big step in Capoue's career. He stated his delight to see the fellow countrymen join Tottenham. Capoue made his debut for Spurs on 18 August 2013, replacing Mousa Dembélé in a 1–0 win away to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
On 6 July 2015, Capoue joined newly promoted Watford for a reported club-record transfer fee of £6.3 million (€9 million).
He began his second season at Watford with four goals in his first six games, including the opening goal against Manchester United in a 3–1 win at Vicarage Road and another in a 4–2 comeback win against West Ham United.
In May 2019 he was named as Watford's Player of the Year for the 2018–19 season.
Capoue was eligible to play for Guadeloupe, due to his father being from there. Capoue has been active with France on the youth level. He has received caps with the under-18 and under-19 teams. Capoue made his youth international debut with the under-18 team on 14 March 2006 in a 2–1 victory over Germany. He finished the under-18 campaign with four appearances. He made his debut with the under-19 team at the 2006 edition of the Sendaï Cup in Japan in the opening match against the Tōhoku region national team. In the team's next group stage match against Japan, Capoue scored his first youth international goal in a 3–1 victory. On 23 January 2007, he scored his second under-17 goal in a 2–0 win against Turkey. During qualification for the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, Capoue scored his only goal in a 3–1 positive result against Poland in the Elite Round. At the UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, Capoue missed the first two group stage matches, but appeared in the team final one against Russia and the team's semi-final defeat on penalties to Spain.
On 15 August 2012, Capoue made his debut for the French senior team in a friendly match against Uruguay. On 11 September 2012, he scored his first goal for France in a 3–1 World Cup qualifier win over Belarus at the Stade de France.
- As of match played 22 December 2019
|Club||Division||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Premier League||2013–14||12||1||0||0||1||0||5||0||18||1|
- Scores and results list France's goal tally first.
|11 September 2012||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Belarus||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- FA Cup runner-up: 2018–19