Everton have reportedly entered the race to sign Burnley winger Dwight McNeil as the club’s transfer business starts to gather pace.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the Toffees are keen on acquiring 21-year-old’s services this summer, with the youngster set to cost potential suitors in the region of £25m.
However, the report added that fellow Premier League side Aston Villa are in pole position for McNeil, so Rafael Benitez may have to move quickly in order to secure his transfer target.
McNeil has been one of Burnley’s standout performers in recent years, and last season saw the youngster produce one of his best campaigns yet, scoring two goals and laying on five assists in 36 Premier League appearances.
His magnificent displays have earned several plaudits, including from Burnley teammate Ashley Westwood, who lauded the England under-21 international and admitted that teams will be interested in signing the forward if he continues to catch the eye for the Clarets.
“He’s really mature. I think the world of him; he’s a special talent. It’s been good to see him grow up because when he first came training with us, he was really quiet,” said Westwood.
“He’s already racked up more than 50 games in the Premier League now, which at his age is phenomenal. He’s producing as well, so if he keeps doing that and we all keep doing what we’re doing then there will be teams circulating.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Benitez is determined to bolster his attacking options out wide over the coming months, with Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend closing in on transfers to the Goodison Park club.
Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the most headed goals in the Premier League last season with seven, while Townsend had the best crossing accuracy and McNeil has had the second-highest crossing accuracy over the previous two campaigns.
Therefore, Benitez is evidently planning on creating a constant supply line for Calvert-Lewin to feed off of in the opposition penalty area, and McNeil would be the ideal addition for the Spaniard’s plan to succeed.