Everton: Chelsea target to stay; bid made for French winger; Serie A star linked
After his side came from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 yesterday, Everton boss Ronald Koeman was handed another boost as Romelu Lukaku expressed his desire to stay at Goodison Park amid rumours of interest from Chelsea.
The Belgian international had originally handed in a transfer request but Koeman claims that Lukaku has now changed his mind and has decided to commit his future to the club. If true, it is undoubtedly the best bit of business that the Toffees will carry out this summer, with Koeman declaring that he was delighted with the decision of his star forward.
“Ten days before the transfer deadline he came into the manager’s office and said he was no longer leaving and had decided to stay at Everton,” the former Southampton boss wrote in his column in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “His decision is the same value as a big money transfer. He is not only a good player but a fine person.”
Lukaku scored 18 Premier League goals last season and Koeman will hope that he can provide a similar contribution this year. The 23-year-old missed last week’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur due to a heel injury picked up in pre-season, but came off the bench to make his first appearance of the season at the Hawthorns yesterday. He may have failed to find the score-sheet, but a fully fit and firing Lukaku remaining at Goodison is news to the ears of Blues supporters.
Joining him at Goodison could be Lyon winger Rachid Ghezzal, with the Daily Mail reporting that the Toffees have made a £9 million bid for the Algerian international. The 24-year-old is a reported target of a number of Premier League clubs this summer and is believed to be torn between remaining in Ligue 1 or making the move to England.
Ghezzal’s favoured role is as a right winger, a position from which he found the net eight times last season. However, Gerard Deulofeu has consolidated himself on the right for Everton and looks likely to continue his impressive displays there this season, despite Koeman’s early experimentation with him as a striker. With Yannick Bolasie having joined the club last week, adding to the existing wide options that Everton already possess, the news that Ghezzal is supposedly a target will come as a surprise to many on the blue side of Merseyside.
Finally, reports in Italy claim that Napoli have turned down a £25 million bid for Italian international Manolo Gabbiadini from Everton. The 24-year-old forward has been linked with a move away from Stadio San Paolo this summer, with Stoke City reported to have made a bid for the player earlier in the summer.
Napoli are determined to keep hold of their key stars in the wake of losing top goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus last month. Gabbiadini’s teammate, Kalidou Koulibaly, is another who has been linked with a move to Goodison this pre-season, but the Toffees chose to pursue other options rather than becoming engaged in a transfer battle with Chelsea for the Senegalese international.
Gabbiadini joined the Neapolitan club from Sampdoria last summer, but mostly spent 2015/16 supporting Higuain as the Argentine almost single-handedly dragged the club to a 2nd-placed finish. Despite these latest rumours, it is widely expected that Gabbiadini will remain at the club for another season.
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