Alex Iwobi may need to keep an eye over his shoulder at Everton next season after Real Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez was reportedly offered a move to Goodison Park.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Toffees are one of a clutch of European sides putting plans in place to sign Vazquez as a free agent once his Los Blancos contract expires in June.
Vazquez has rejected the offer of new terms at the Santiago Bernabeu and remains no closer to having his future resolved approaching his end of March deadline.
The £13.5m-rated winger had set the Galacticos a target of the end of March to present him with a new offer more attuned to his expectations.
While Real are yet thought to have offered Vazquez improved terms, the 29-year-old has received contract proposals from Everton plus Serie A duo SSC Napoli and AC Milan.
It is not suggested how the £113,000-per-week maestro responded to the approaches, but this report follows claims from Spain that Vazquez had named Everton as his preferred destination in order to be reunited with Carlo Ancelotti.
The Toffees boss is thought to have been viewing Vazquez as a potential summer target to help appease James Rodriguez, as the Colombian had become unsettled in the Premier League.
Vazquez rejected Real Madrid’s proposed new contract as the nine-time Spain international did not feel the terms represented a player of his standing, having opened 19 of his 22 La Liga appearances this term from a possible 28.
Reports surfacing of Everton presenting Vazquez with a contract is the latest signal of the strength of Ancelotti’s interest, in a move that could carry heavy consequences for Iwobi at Goodison Park.
While Ancelotti never fielded Vazquez for a single second during his time in charge of Los Blancos, the Italian tactician clearly thinks highly of the versatile forward who can offer the Toffees an option at right-back as well as on the wing.
But in signing the forward, whom Zinedine Zidane has praised as a “very reliable” player who “gives everything on the pitch”, Iwobi may have to look over his shoulder given the heightened competition for places.
The Nigerian was linked with a move away from Merseyside last summer during Ancelotti’s first off-season at the Goodison Park helm, with the new commander willing to listen to offers just a year after Marco Silva had spent up to £34m to sign Iwobi from Arsenal.
With Iwobi’s form and place in the Everton side mixed this season, to say the least, it would not be too much of a surprise for the 24-year-old – who has started just 15 Premier League fixtures this term – to face a fraught future again.
Iwobi was fast becoming a key man for Ancelotti over the winter through his performances in the absence of Rodriguez, but has fallen back to the periphery of late and failed to repay the Everton coach’s trust against Burnley earlier this month.
Ancelotti had stated that he would play Iwobi where he wants to, after the forward seemingly hit out at being played out of position, but the experiment only lasted half an hour before the Gunners product was sent back to the wing.
Iwobi lacked the authority and assertive presence to pull the strings from the centre against Burnley, and would undoubtedly have to look out for Vazquez if the Real Madrid maestro was also contending for the wide-role next season.
AND in other news, an “exceptional” Everton figure is being eyed by a Premier League rival…