Everton: Lukaku latest; Newcastle United star targeted; joined race for Belgium international
In Thursday’s Everton transfer round-up, Tim Krul is on the Toffees radar, according to the Daily Express.
The Dutchman is almost certain to leave St James’ Park after Newcastle’s relegation and could link up Ronald Koeman at Goodison, with the Blues in need of a new shot stopper.
With Tim Howard set to depart come the beginning of the transfer window, and with his understudy, Joel, largely failing to live up to expectations, the club are in search of a new number one.
Throughout an injury-stricken campaign, Krul made just eight appearances for the Magpies last term, keeping just a single clean sheet. He averaged just 2.13 saves per appearance during those games, while 1.56 stops per goal conceded.
However, offered little protection by an abject Newcastle side, the statistics do not tell the full story.
Krul is a proven Premier League goalkeeper, who has deservedly earned a multitude of plaudits during his time at St James’, and as such, it comes as no surprise to see him linked with an instant return to the top flight.
Reports suggest the Toffees will face competition for Krul’s signature, though, with Crystal Palace also believed to be interested.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror claims that Everton have joined the race to sign Zenit St. Petersburg’s Axel Witsel.
The 27-year-old, who played in central midfield for Belgium in their 2-0 defeat by Italy on Monday, has spent four years in Russia and is keen on a move on this summer, according to reports.
With Everton’s transfer kitty believed to be in excess of £100 million ahead of the upcoming window, this rumour certainly isn’t as far-fetched as it once may have seemed.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Witsel offers composure in possession as well as the ability to win a defensive duel for his side when the going gets tough. Last term for Zenit, the 27-year-old averaged an 89.1% pass success rate, while winning 2.9 tackles and two interceptions per appearance.
Koeman has typically favoured a system with two defensive midfield players, protecting a four man defence, and he is likely to set-up in this fashion at Goodison next season.
In this formation, Witsel would accompany the continually impressive James McCarthy, replacing the ageing Gareth Barry – who matched the Englishman for tackles won last term, while proving superior in terms of his ability to read the game.
Witsel would undoubtedly prefer a move to a Champions League team, but the arrival of Koeman at Goodison – and the chance to play under the Dutchman – could prove enough to convince him into a move to Merseyside.
Finally, Everton are set to offer striker Romelu Lukaku a bumper new deal to try and keep him at Goodison Park, according to the Daily Mail.
The 23-year-old has indicated his intention to leave Merseyside this summer, with both Chelsea and Juventus believed to be interested, but the Toffees will hope they can tempt him into signing a new deal.
Lukaku made 37 Premier League appearances for the club last term, scoring a team best 18 goals. However, the Belgian international is by no means the most clinical of finishers, nor is he the most consistent of performers – as his recent display versus Italy showed.
Should he leave, the paper reports that new owner Farhad Moshiri will give the entire fee to Ronald Koeman to reinvest in the squad – which if spent astutely, could be far more beneficial than holding onto the 23-year-old.
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