Everton are believed to have been rebuffed in their attempts to sign Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Leander Dendoncker, with manager Frank Lampard looking to bolster his squad before the window closes.
According to The Athletic’s Patrick Boyland, the Toffees lodged a bid of around £8m for the Belgium international, although that offer was subsequently rejected by the Midlands outfit.
The report suggests that the Merseysiders are keen on bolstering their midfield ranks in the coming days following the departures of Dele Alli and Jean-Philippe Gbamin to Besiktas and Trabzonspor, respectively.
The 27-year-old has just a year remaining on his existing deal a Molineux – albeit with the club retaining the option of a 12-month extension – while he has failed to start the last two league games for Bruno Lage’s side.
The Goodison Park outfit have, of course, already raided the Old Gold for the signings of Ruben Vinagre and Conor Coady, with the pair joining on loan earlier this summer.
Dendoncker’s arrival would help to bolster an area of the pitch that has long been scrutinised, with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher previously criticising the “lack of athleticism” in Lampard’s side following the 5-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last season.
The addition of the 29-cap gem would offer a more dynamic presence in midfield, with the former Anderlecht man – who made the move to England back in 2018 – having scored 12 goals and provided four assists in his 159 outings for his current side from his holding role.
Not just a threat in the final third, the £25.2m-rated ace also provides real defensive strength, as he notably ranks in the top 10% for blocks made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues – a better record than the likes of Allan (top 13%), Abdoulaye Doucoure (top 38%) and Andre Gomes (top 22%).
A Premier League-ready player who should take little time to adjust to his new surroundings, the £90k-per-week man could also offer a real boost in the dressing room, having been dubbed a “big character” by Lage back in February.
His leader-like presence could well help to guide his international colleague Amadou Onana in the centre of the park, with the 21-year-old still finding his feet in English football after his big-money move from Lille.
That Belgian connection could well prove vital in helping to build a formidable midfield unit under Lampard, with the 44-year-old potentially finally able to settle on a preferred pairing after chopping and changing in his tenure thus far.
With Dendoncker providing the calm, experienced head, it would allow Onana to be the more aggressive and front-foot figure in the midfield, with the latter man having proven his worth as an elite ball-winner, ranking in the top 5% for tackles made, as per FBref.
As deadline day looms, Everton supporters will no doubt be hoping that the club renew their attempts to sign the Wolves man, with an Onana-Dendoncker axis likely to be a real key pairing.