Everton lead race to sign Khvicha Kvaratskhelia as £26m midfielder snubs Zenit transfer
According to Soccer.RU, Everton have taken the lead in the race to sign Rubin Kazan midfielder Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Kvaratskhelia is expected to leave the Ak Bars Arena at the end of the season after enjoying a highly creative campaign in the Russian Premier Liga.
The 20-year-old has offered head coach Leonid Slutsky four goals and eight assists in 23 appearances, which have directly resulted in Volzhane taking four wins and a draw.
Kvaratskhelia expects this will be his last hurrah with Rubin Kazan and hopes that his efforts lead to a move to a top European division, aiding Everton’s aspirations of striking a deal.
The Toffees are now considered to be the leading candidate to sign the Georgian, who has no intentions of joining Zenit Saint Petersburg despite interest from the Gazprom Arena.
Previous reports by Soccer.RU have also cited interest across Europe with 10 additional clubs contending for the left-winger, including Inter Milan, Napoli, AC Milan, Juventus and Atalanta, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, Ajax, Monaco and Leeds United.
The Whites’ Director of Football Victor Orta has even met with Kvaratskhelia’s representatives to discuss a move to Elland Road, although it is considered likely that the eight-cap forward may struggle to obtain a work permit to play in England.
That’s despite Rubin Kazan setting a minimum €30million (£26m) asking price for Kvaratskhelia (Eurostavka), who is under contract at the Ak Bars Arena until 2024.
It remains to be seen if Kvaratskhelia would struggle to obtain permission to play in the Premier League given the highly lucrative fee any suitor would need to pay Rubin Kazan to sign the Georgian maestro, who has been mightily impressive in Russia this season.
The 6ft wing wizard ranks joint-10th across the Premier Liga for goal involvements this term thanks to penning the second-most assists, with one less than Zenit’s Douglas Santos (9).
Carlo Ancelotti would no doubt be keen to have a player with Kvaratskhelia’s vision at Goodison Park, where the dual-footed creator would improve the Italian’s options as James Rodriguez and Richarlison are the current best from wide roles with three assists each in the Premier League.
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