Gremio manager Renato Portaluppi potentially dealt Everton a huge blow earlier this week, when he told Calciomercato that Juventus winger Douglas Costa wants to secure a return to Brazil.
Portaluppi claims he has spoken with Costa several times and that he was informed by the forward of his desires to re-join the side where his career begun after more than a decade away.
Costa is expected to hit the transfer market as one of the first players out of the door at Juventus this summer, after Bayern Munich ruled out a permanent move to the Bundesliga after a tepid season on loan.
The 31-cap international has been linked with a potential move to Goodison Park, with Juventus said to have offered Costa to Everton for €15m (£13m) in hopes of lowering the Premier League side’s valuation of Moise Kean.
Costa is currently sidelined after sustaining a hairline fracture in his foot last month, shortly after earning only his 22nd appearance of the season during Bayern’s FIFA Club World Cup Final win over Mexican outfit Tigres UANL.
Everton’s interest in the serial title winner – who boasts two Bundesliga crowns, three Serie A honours and five Ukrainian Premier League titles – remains to be seen, but may prove irrelevant if Portaluppi is correct.
“Everyone is available and happy to come here,” Portaluppi said. “I have spoken to Douglas Costa several times and he has shown interest.
“The interest is there, but there is also the economic part and that depends on Gremio. I cannot put myself above this aspect.”
Gremio’s interest in a reunion with Costa, and the players apparent eagerness to return 11-years after leaving for Shakhtar Donetsk, could prove problematic for Everton if Carlo Ancelotti has decided to take up Juventus’ offer.
Yet Costa wishing to head back to Brazil presents an opportunity for Blues product Anthony Gordon, who would have faced a more challenging path into the first-team next season with the Juventus outcast arriving at Goodison Park.
Gordon made his senior breakthrough under Ancelotti last term with 11 Premier League appearances following the Italian’s arrival, but he was only given three opportunities to feature in the top-flight this season before joining Preston North End on loan in January.
Life in the Championship has so far returned five starts in nine appearances from a possible 10, but he is yet to score or provide a single assist and faces an uncertain future at Deepdale following the sacking of Alex Neil.
Gordon must now seize on Neil’s departure and the appointment of Frankie McAvoy as interim head coach to work his way into a regular starting role, in order to impress Ancelotti and show Everton that they never needed to entertain Juventus’ offer to sign Costa.