Everton have suffered a potentially significant blow in their pursuit of Porto forward Luis Diaz after they were priced out of a transfer.
The Toffees were heavily linked with the 24-year-old over the summer, and it was claimed that they wanted to sign him as part of a deal which would have seen James Rodriguez move in the opposite direction and return to the Estadio Dragao.
However, no agreement was ever reached, and Rodriguez ended up joining Qatari side Al-Rayyan after being deemed surplus to requirements by new Everton manager Rafael Benitez.
A Bola (via Sport Witness) are now claiming that Porto’s hierarchy are determined to receive a record-breaking fee for Diaz, eclipsing the €50m (£42.2m) they collected from Real Madrid for Eder Militao.
That fee is currently out of Everton’s reach due to their financial restraints, while Newcastle United, the other potential suitors for Diaz’s signature, would have no problem splashing out such a sum.
News that the Blues will no longer be able to compete for Diaz’s signature will leave Benitez feeling gutted, given the quality of the Colombia international.
The creative talent played a pivotal part in the Dragons’ domestic double in 2019/20 and has taken his game to new heights in the opening weeks of the current campaign, bagging a remarkable 11 goals in 16 appearances.
After firing Sergio Conceicao’s charges to a crucial Champions League victory over AC Milan in October, Diaz was showered with praise by his teammate Sergio Oliveira, who said: “I don’t have to answer, we know his qualities, apart from the human level he is also extraordinary on a technical level. The best for him will also be the best for us as a team.”
His impressive performances at club level have earned Diaz 30 caps for his country, and the youngster featured heavily for his nation in last summer’s Copa America, finishing as the tournament’s top scorer with four goals.
Therefore, Benitez will be hugely disappointed that the 24-year-old won’t be pulling on an Everton shirt any time soon.
Injuries to Richarlison have forced the Spaniard to field the struggling Alex Iwobi and inexperienced Anthony Gordon on several occasions this season, hampering the Merseyside outfit’s progress.
Whether Marcel Brands is able and willing to dip into the market over the winter in order to strengthen Benitez’s forward line remains to be seen, but attacking reinforcement are certainly needed at Everton.