Everton: Koeman plans defender swoop; Bolasie update; Middlesbrough join race for full-back
Ronald Koeman began his reign as Everton manager with a respectable 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur yesterday; this despite the Dutchman claiming that his side were “only 70% fit” ahead of the game.
The Toffees starting eleven was noticeably weaker than many would have expected when Farhad Moshiri took over the club earlier in the summer. With Romelu Lukaku sidelined due to a heel injury, and Idrissa Gueye and Maarten Stekelenburg the only new additions to feature, Everton looked to be up against it as they took on Mauricio Pochettino’s side and Koeman will probably be happy with a point, despite taking an early lead thanks to Ross Barkley’s free-kick.
Attentions now turn to next Saturday’s trip to West Bromwich Albion, but the Everton boss will be hopeful that he can complete some more business in the meantime. According to the Daily Mail, Koeman is currently targeting Valencia defender Aymen Abdennour as he lines up further defensive reinforcements following the signing of Ashley Williams earlier in the week. Sunderland centre-back Lamine Kone was thought to be the club’s main target, but the report claims that other options are being considered in the event of the Ivory Coast international signing a new deal at the Stadium of Light.
Abdennour only joined Valencia from Monaco last summer but made just 11 appearances in La Liga during 2015/16. The fee for the Tunisian international is reportedly in the region of £15 million as the Spanish club attempt to recoup some of the £19 million that they splashed out last summer.
Meanwhile, Yannick Bolasie looks to be close to completing his move to Goodison Park after Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew told the BBC that the winger’s “heart and soul” is elsewhere and that “a deal is close”.
Bolasie was a second-half substitute in the Eagles’ 1-0 defeat to West Brom yesterday, and Pardew appeared to confirm Everton’s interest in his post-match interview, stating: “We know there is a big offer and a big club in for him”. Reports this week claimed that a £25 million deal would be completed early next week, meaning that he may well be in place to feature at the Hawthorns next weekend, the second time he would be facing the Baggies in seven days.
Finally, Middlesbrough have joined Newcastle United in the race to sign Everton full-back Brendan Galloway on a season-long loan, according to reports in the Daily Mirror. The report claims that the Teessiders have matched the Magpies bid in the hope that the offer of Premier League football will be enough to tempt the 20-year-old to the Riverside Stadium.
Boro boss Aitor Karanka has a number of injury worries at the back and the signing of Galloway may go some way to alleviating these, however, Everton are unwilling to sanction a move to a Premier League rival if reports are to be believed. Although this would appear to put Newcastle in pole position to sign the full-back, the player himself would surely prefer to remain in the Premier League in order to continue his development and stake a place in the Everton side for next season.
If Galloway were to join Boro then he would become the club’s eleventh signing of the summer as they prepare for their first season back in the top-flight since their relegation in 2009. They got underway against Stoke City yesterday and an early goal from Alvaro Negredo gave Karanka’s side the lead before Xherdan Shaqiri’s second-half free-kick levelled proceedings and earned the Potters a point.
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