Everton are reportedly interested in signing Jonathan Ikone from Lille in the January transfer window.
According to Fichajes, the Toffees are determined to add quality to their attack to enable them to push on for European spots this season, as they are currently sitting 11th in the Premier League table after 11 games.
Everton have seen some shocking results already this term, including a horrendous performance when they led 2-1 against Watford at Goodison Park and went on to concede four goals in quick succession. Benitez will be looking for ways to avoid dropping too many points over the rest of the season, as the top half of the table is looking tighter than ever.
Ikone has put on many impressive displays since joining Lille for £4.5m from Paris Saint-Germain in 2018. The player is currently valued at around £22.5m by Transfermarkt, and Everton have reportedly been told they will have to pay at least €25m (£21.3m) for the French ace.
The 23-year-old could be the perfect upgrade for current Toffees winger Alex Iwobi, who has failed to impress so far this season. Indeed, when comparing the respective SofaScore ratings for the two players this season, Ikone comes out superior to the 25-year-old.
Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol blasted Everton’s Nigerian forward for missing a gilt-edged scoring chance in their 1-0 defeat to West Ham last month as he told ESPN UK: “There is a ball coming across, probably from seven yards out. A straight ball with pace on it, Iwobi is watching it from all the way, and all he has to do is side-foot it, use the pace of the ball.”
“You know it’s something that professional footballers should know, but Iwobi hasn’t been having the best time.”
Ikone has become a reliable and consistent player for Lille, with 16 goals and 25 assists in 143 appearances for the Ligue 1 champions. Injecting those kinds of numbers and clear qualities in link up play due to his number of assists, Ikone could become a valuable asset in the Everton forward line.
Lille president Gerard Lopez spoke on French media channel Telefoot about the 23-year-old, saying [via Herald Scotland]: “He [Ikone] is an interesting player, and that’s the problem! He has the ability to make a huge difference, he’s a player who is in the France team.”
“Everyone has to agree on the way to move forward – there are big offers for him. I’ll sit down with the players and their entourages this week.”
West Ham have also expressed an interest in the French winger, so Benitez will surely be keen to get the deal done to beat a rival Premier League club to Ikone’s signature.