Everton have lift off in the summer transfer market. It’s been a long time coming but finally Rafa Benitez has completed his first deals as the Toffees manager.
They acquired the signatures of Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic on Tuesday night but they’re close to confirming a third move of the window.
Word has circled around Merseyside over the last few days that Everton were in advanced negotiations to bring Demarai Gray to Goodison Park.
He swapped Leicester for Bayer Leverkusen over 12 months ago but is already seeking a return to English football.
Valued at £7.2m, the winger looks set to head to the Toffees in a cut-price deal.
After confirming that Benitez had completed a deal for Begovic to join the club, Fabrizio Romano revealed on Tuesday that Gray’s arrival was imminent.
He said: “Next ones: Demarai Gray almost done and at final details.”
If Everton managed to get a deal over the line they could discover their new Theo Walcott.
The English veteran moved to Goodison with a fine reputation in the Premier League.
He dominated defences for Arsenal for a considerable period of time and had a habit of finding double figures in terms of goals scored.
However, after leaving the Gunners, his form completely deteriorated. Walcott’s explosive pace and willing desire to get on the end of a ball was still there but his sense of purpose inside the area deserted him.
The experienced winger scored just 11 times in 85 outings before completing a move back to his beloved Southampton.
The form he showed was very much in the vein of Gray, a player who possesses pace in abundance but has failed to ever really find the net on a consistent basis.
During his time with Leicester, Brendan Rodgers waxed lyrical about him: “He’s got wonderful talent. He can dribble, he can do everything. With Demarai, it’s always been about that end product, creating goals and assisting goals on a regular basis, and then working with an intensity to fit in with the structure of the team.”
Clearly a vibrant player on his day, he struggled with his composure, beating the goalkeeper on 13 occasions in 169 matches; a dismal tally for an offensive player.
Gray would be a valuable squad option for Benitez but one has to question his attacking numbers.
Walcott wasn’t a success in Merseyside and it’s unlikely the former Leicester man will be either. We’ll just have to wait and see.