Everton could receive a significant setback in their progress under new manager Rafa Benitez after star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was linked with a move to Arsenal.
The highly-rated 24-year-old has reportedly caught the eye of the Gunners hierarchy following a string of impressive performances, with Mikel Arteta now making him his priority transfer target.
According to Football.London, Arsenal’s technical director Edu and his recruitment team are already working hard on scouting and building a suitable shortlist of forwards to pursue next summer.
The report states that: “Edu’s next task at Arsenal will be bringing in a new top striker, with Mikel Arteta looking likely to lose a number of important forward players at the end of this campaign…
“And it’s expected that the number one standout candidate on that list will be Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.”
With Alexandre Lacazette expected to depart the Emirates Stadium either in January or next summer, Arteta is desperate to bolster his attacking options, and Calvert-Lewin could be the man to do just that.
Given the England international’s importance to Everton, the club’s supporters will be very worried at this revelation regarding his future.
In recent years, Calvert-Lewin has become a key figure for the Goodison Park outfit, and he enjoyed his most productive season yet last term, bagging 21 goals and providing a further five assists in 39 appearances.
His outstanding performances at club level saw him instated as the first-choice backup to Harry Kane in Gareth Southgate’s England squad during Euro 2020 over the summer, where he made two substitute appearances.
Although he made a couple of cameo appearances throughout the tournament as the Three Lions reached the final, his presence as the only natural alternative to the Tottenham Hotspur star illustrates just how highly Calvert-Lewin is thought of.
The 6 foot 2 target man returned from his international exploits in emphatic form at the start of the current campaign, bagging a goal in each of Everton’s opening three top-flight fixtures before a broken toe sidelined him ever since.
But now Benitez will be determined to convince Calvert-Lewin his long-term future remains on Merseyside as the Spanish tactician looks to build a winning formula at Goodison Park.