Carlo Ancelotti must tempt Bernard into quitting Goodison Park amid rumoured interest from AS Roma and United Arab Emirates side Al Nasr in the Everton midfielder.
According to The Telegraph, Toffees chiefs have slapped a £9m asking price on the Brazilian as they look to trim the ranks and, more specifically, their wage bill during the January transfer window.
Bernard is the joint-highest earner in Ancelotti’s first-team fold on a £120,000-per-week deal, after penning a vastly lucrative contract upon his arrival as a free agent in 2018.
Everton are eager to offload players in order to reinvest in Ancelotti’s squad, and consider Bernard to be a saleable asset after starting just two of his six Premier League appearances this term.
The Goodison Park outfit are yet to receive any official approaches wishing to discuss a deal for Bernard this month, though the 28-year-old is considered to be Paulo Fonseca’s prime target at Roma.
That’s according to Il Tempo, via Sport Witness, who reported earlier this week that Fonseca has already contacted Bernard to discuss a potential move to the Serie A, where he would reunite with his former head coach from Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Italian publication, as also noted by The Telegraph, add that Everton are not willing to offer any discounts to offload Bernard this month, while Roma are not appearing ready to forge any official negotiations approaching the final week of the January market.
Ancelotti will no doubt be loath to lose any player he considers to be a key aspect of his squad with Everton competing for Champions League qualification this season, but Bernard is clearly a player the Italian tactician can do without if a deal can be struck this month.
Ancelotti was claimed to have told Bernard that he was a valued part of his squad at the close of the last transfer window after snubbing a potential move to Roma, but that faith has not been reflected on the pitch with the midfielder left an unused substitute in 11 of Everton’s 17 Premier League fixtures to date this term.
That’s also despite Bernard snubbing a move to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal in the summer, who marked him as their priority target after a £6m bid, as the 14-cap international wished to continue his career in the English top-flight.
But since that decision, Bernard has only continued to bleed majority owner Farhad Moshiri dry on his mammoth contract that has seen the midfielder earn in excess of £9m over the past two-and-a-half-years, and Ancelotti needs to do all he can to prove he has reached the end of the line.
Bernard’s output would barely be missed in Everton’s push for European football, should he leave, as the 28-year-old has only taken four shots on goal over his mere six Premier League outings thus far. He’s also only offered six key passes – Michael Keane has created half that from centre-half, per WhoScored.
Not many players have featured as little under Ancelotti this term than Bernard, too, with the Brazilian earning a combined 273 minutes of top-flight action compared to Fabian Delph (212), Robin Olsen (180), Anthony Gordon (88), Jonjoe Kenny (79), Niels Nkounkou (69) and Cenk Tosun (44).
If Roma are not willing to come calling this month, Ancelotti and Everton should sing the praises of a payday in the Middle East and free themselves of an outcast earning more than Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with the Toffees’ top-scorer’s deal worth £100k-p/w.
AND in other news, Everton have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of a £13.5m beast…