Everton are reportedly closing in on a deal to sign Bayer Leverkusen winger Demarai Gray as Rafael Benitez looks to make his mark on the first-team squad.
According to well-known journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the Toffees are set to secure the services of the 25-year-old over the coming days.
He tweeted: “Everton are closing on signing Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen, confirmed. Deal now at final stages, buy out clause around €2m – contract until 2024.”
The former Leicester City forward was a very highly-rated prospect at the beginning of his career and much was expected of him after he made the switch from Birmingham City to the King Power Stadium back in 2016.
However, he struggled for consistency during his time with the Midlands outfit, failing to make over 23 Premier League starts in a single season before Brendan Rodgers cut him out of the first-team setup.
A move to Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen materialised last January after Gray was afforded just 18 minutes of top-flight action in the first half of 2020/21.
After some initial success in Germany saw the former England Under-21 international score once and provide two assists in his opening three appearances for Die Werkself, he struggled to make an impact, and an immediate return to the Premier League looks to be on the cards.
The flying winger would be Benitez’s first signing since taking charge of Everton, and news that they are set to secure Gray’s signature for such a small fee will surely have the club’s supporters buzzing.
In the modern era, a €2m (£1.7m) price tag for a player with bags of potential who’s yet to hit his prime is an extremely astute piece of business which director of football Marcel Brands should be commended for.
While success is far from guaranteed for Gray, who still has a lot to prove, his age and talent mean Everton should easily be able to make a profit on him, should they decide to sell him in a few years time.