Everton have been linked with a move for Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir as new manager Rafael Benitez looks to replace the departed James Rodriguez.
According to reports in Spain, the Toffees are one of three Premier League clubs interested in securing the 28-year-old’s signature, with West Ham United and Arsenal also listed as potential suitors.
Claims state that: “His excellent form has sparked the interest of several Premier League clubs. Nabil Fekir is in advanced negotiations to close his renewal with Real Betis.
“The Franco-Algerian player is very happy in Andalusia and has a lot of confidence in the Verdiblanco sports project. However, a powerful financial offer, both for him and for the club, could change the plans.”
Fekir has established himself as one of Europe’s most exciting attacking talents in recent years after rising through the ranks at former club Lyon.
During his time with the Ligue 1 giants, he scored 69 goals and provided a further 46 assists in 193 appearances, earning the praise of several pundits, teammates and rivals alike.
One of his admirers was former Barcelona winger Malcom. The Brazilian lauded Fekir’s ability in the final third ahead of a Champions League clash between the Blaugrana and Lyon back in 2019.
“Fekir is a big player, and when I was in France, he scored incredible goals,” Malcom told Telefoot (as relayed by Goal). “It will be more difficult with him (in the Lyon team).”
Since then, the stocky attacker has made the switch to Spanish football, becoming a pivotal part of Real Betis’s recent success, bagging 14 goals and laying on a further 15 assists in 81 outings.
However, Fekir’s current contract expires in the summer of 2023, and although he’s believed to be happy at Betis, a move could be on the horizon for creative talent if a substantial offer is incoming.
The £22.5m-rated gem would be the ideal replacement for Rodriguez, who departed Goodison Park after just 12 months over the summer.
The Colombian was the Toffees’ chief creator last term with 1.7 key passes per game, a number Everton’s French target has bettered this season with 2.5 per game. As a result, he could provide Benitez with the midfield playmaker his first-team squad is currently lacking.