Everton could seal a bargain deal in either the upcoming January transfer window or next summer after being linked with a move for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.
According to Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante, the Toffees are one of three Premier League clubs who are interested in securing the 25-year-old’s services, with his contract set to expire at the end of the current campaign.
He tweeted: “Liverpool, West Ham and Everton are interested in Denis #Zakaria, contract expiring in 2022.”
The Goodison Park outfit were forced to limit their spending to just £1.8m during the last window in order to remain within Financial Fair Play’s regulations, so snapping up Zakaria in a cut-price deal or on a free transfer would surely be appealing to the club’s hierarchy.
After arriving at Borussia-Park from Young Boys back in 2017, the Switzerland international has established himself as one of the dominant engine room operators in the Bundesliga in recent years.
In 141 appearances for Gladbach, Zakaria has scored 11 goals and provided eight assists, but it’s the box-to-box dynamo’s overall performances which have really caught the eye.
One of the most decorated German footballers of all time in Lothar Matthaus is amongst the 25-year-old’s admirers, claiming that the midfielder reminds him of Real Madrid maestro Toni Kroos.
“I’m glad that Gladbach have found another pearl,” revealed Matthaus (as relayed by Planet Football). “At his age, I was earning my first stripes for Borussia. He reminds me of Toni Kroos at that age.”
Zakaria’s former manager Marco Rose has also been openly complimentary about the £51,000-per-week midfielder, previously telling Sky Germany: “He is a very complete footballer who still has a lot of development potential. He has incredible dynamics, understanding of the game and is not yet at the end of his development.”
The appraisals don’t stop there either, with Swiss stopper Yann Sommer suggesting he had qualities that reminded him of Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.
With Allan and Fabian Delph in their 30s, and Tom Davies, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes all struggling for form, bolstering Everton’s options in the middle of the park is likely to be high up on Benitez’s to-do list.
Whether the 61-year-old can entice Zakaria to Goodison Park remains to be seen, but the Swiss beast would certainly add some much-needed steel and class to the Toffees’ midfield. If they can get him on a free transfer, it may well be one of the biggest bargains Benitez has ever saled.