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Everton join the hunt for Jesse Lingard

When Rafael Benitez walked through the doors of Finch Farm for the first time as the new Everton manager, he appeared to be promised money to spend.

That may indeed still be the case but the first three signings under the Spaniard tell us that a huge wave of financial injection may not be forthcoming.

On the chalkboard

The Toffees have acted shrewdly in the window so far, snapping up Andros Townsend, Asmir Begovic and Demarai Gray on the cheap.

It would appear as though Benitez is planning for life without some of his fringe players at Goodison Park, with Bernard taking his leave and others potentially following him through the exit door.

Richarlison, who scored a hat-trick for Brazil at the Olympics on Thursday, has been linked with Real Madrid, while there is a larger threat that James Rodriguez could leave.

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Reports earlier this week stated that the pair were both looking for an escape route to Spain, but Rodriguez’s agent Jorge Mendes has held discussions with AC Milan over a potential move.

The Colombian has only been in Merseyside for a year but, after a topsy-turvy season which was ended prematurely due to injury, he’s looking for a way out.

The solution

Everton have been linked with a host of attacking midfielders and wingers in the transfer window to date. Euro 2020 star Mikkel Damsgaard has been a topic of debate while former Liverpool magician Philippe Coutinho is also reportedly a target.

However, one of the most striking reports to emerge this week regards Jesse Lingard. The Toffees have joined the race to prise him away from Manchester United following a stellar campaign on loan at West Ham.

Lingard’s 2020/21 season had been a disaster before he completed a switch to the Hammers in January. He had failed to add to his 33 United goals, but was in devastating form once he headed elsewhere.

Described as “exceptional” by David Moyes, the Englishman found the net on nine occasions in just 16 outings, providing a further five assists for his teammates on top of that.

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Guess the obscure Everton players...who is standing next to Lookman?

He was a wizard with the ball at his feet, beating players with flair and trickery while providing some ingenious moments of play.

Lingard’s football intellect improved significantly during his stay at the London Stadium, turning himself from a dancing fashion meme to a footballer who can be taken more seriously.

Everton’s interest in the 28-year-old is timely with Rodriguez potentially leaving. If the Colombian does walk through the exit door, then Lingard would be a fabulous replacement.

Like James, he can play out wide and also occupy more central areas for the team. A year ago, Lingard would have been a questionable signing but now it feels like a no-brainer for Benitez and Marcel Brands.

AND in other news, Everton eye swoop for 18-goal “supreme talent”, he’s their dream Richarlison successor…