Everton have already signed two players in this transfer window to bolster the depth of the squad after a disappointing first half of the season which has left Rafael Benitez’s side in a vulnerable position, currently 15th in the Premier League and just six points ahead of the drop zone, but it looks like the club face a struggle to sign one of their other transfer targets.
According to 90min, an initial bid from Everton for Sean Longstaff has been rejected by Newcastle United.
Sky Sports reported that the Toffees had had made an offer for the 24-year-old on Wednesday, although their report claimed that the Magpies were keen on keeping him at the Tyneside club.
Longstaff is out of contract at the end of the season with contract talks remaining open, although it is reported that the midfielder would be keen for a move away from the club to reunite with his former manager Benitez at Everton.
The bid from the Merseyside club comes after the 61-year-old worked with the player during his time as Magpies manager from 2016 to 2019, and the Spaniard has always had high praise for his former player, hailing him “humble, professional and focused”.
Benitez will surely be gutted that an agreement hasn’t been met and the bid being rejected by Newcastle. The manager seems to have a soft spot for the Geordie midfielder, who made his full Premier League debut and secured 13 appearances for his current club under the supervision of the Spaniard during the 2018/19 season.
There will also be frustration from the Everton manager’s perspective as a potential deal with the Tyneside club was reported to include Lucas Digne, a player who Benitez is apparently keen to get off the books at Goodison Park.
However, the frozen-out Toffees left-back has no interest in doing his manager any favours, with Fabrizio Romano claiming on Wednesday that Digne does not want to join Newcastle in January and is looking at his options elsewhere. That could have lead to the rejection of the bid, as the Tyneside club have intentions of improving their defence line this January, and the French defender was a rumoured target for them.
It will be surprising if this is the last approach Everton make for the £11.7m-rated Longstaff, though, and Benitez will surely be hoping that the club can offer something more convincing for Newcastle to accept.
In other news: Benitez could sign this young gem for Everton