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Everton: Southampton striker to follow Koeman; Witsel update; £17m 'keeper linked

Everton: Southampton striker to follow Koeman; Witsel update; £17m 'keeper linked

The arrival of Ronald Koeman at Goodison Park put Everton supporters in a terrifically optimistic mood for the new season, especially considering the fact that it followed the take-over deal by multi-billionaire Farhad Moshiri so closely. Now, we may be close to seeing the results of these two appointments, in the form of exciting signings arriving on the blue half of Merseyside.

First up is the rumour that current Southampton forward Graziano Pellè is a possible recruit in the striking department, in a move that would of course see Koeman being reunited with the imposing Italian. Having recently been part of Conte’s team that were disposed from Euro 2016 by world champions Germany, Pellè’s performances have certainly put himself forward as an option for other clubs, if he desires a move away from St. Mary’s.

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The Express have reported that a fee of around £16 million would be required to prise him from the clutches of Koeman’s former side. However, with only 12 months remaining on his current deal, if the powerful left-footer expresses a desire to depart, then the transfer could go through for less, as Southampton will be keen to secure as much money as possible before he could leave for nothing.

Last season, Pellè was not quite as brutally effective as in his first campaign for Southampton, although 17 goals in 43 appearances overall is still far from a flop. With 11 league strikes coming in only 23 starts, his conversion rate is impressive, and his physical stature provides a terrific platform for others to work around, as can be seen by his six assists.

Were Romelu Lukaku to leave Everton, which is not looking as much of a certainty as it did a few weeks ago, then Pellè would be a great choice as an immediate replacement. While not as mobile as the Belgian, he fills the role of target man equally as adeptly, and with the right additions around the Italian, Lukaku’s speed could be replaced just as adequately.

Sticking with an interest in players from fellow Premier League clubs, The Liverpool Echo are claiming that Everton are interested in bringing Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel to Goodison Park.

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With the waning of Tim Howard’s form over the course of the last campaign, culminating in his departure from the club, acquiring a top class goalkeeper would always have been a priority over the summer. As of yet, there has been no concrete news on this, meaning that despite the fact that the Schmeichel link appears to have emerged from nowhere, there is an obvious justification behind it.

Howard’s place in the side was taken by Joel Robles as the season wore on, and although the Spaniard was a little more solid than the veteran shot-stopper, there was a visible detrimental effect on the stability of Everton’s back four. The addition of someone like Kasper Schmeichel would surely go some way to correcting this, also potentially aiding the development of John Stones.

Now 29 years of age, Schmeichel has of course just won the Premier League title with The Foxes and is about to embark on a season of Champions League football. This would suggest that he is far from likely to consider an exit, but the Goodison Park outfit would almost certainly be offering a dramatic rise to his current wage packet.

Having already blown Southampton out of the water with their contract offer to Ronald Koeman, Everton are prepared to splash the cash, and with the goalkeeping position being high on their shopping list, money would probably be no object if they decided that Schmeichel was their man.

Impressing many with his shot-stopping ability aligned with a commanding presence in the penalty area, the son of Manchester United legend Peter would be an ideal addition to Everton’s ranks. It remains to be seen how Leicester’s resolve will stand up to The Toffee’s newly found financial muscle.

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Having been faced with stiff competition for Axel Witsel’s signature in recent days, Everton must have feared that the Belgian midfielder was slipping from their clutches, instead moving to either their rivals, Liverpool, or Italian outfit Napoli.

Nevertheless, The Mirror are reporting that The Toffees have fought off the other interested parties and are closer than ever to completing a £28.5 million deal. A transfer of this magnitude would be yet another statement of intent for the Merseyside club, freshly imbued with cash.

The 27-year-old has impressed for his country at Euro 2016 and although he was unable to prevent Marc Wilmots’ men from crashing out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage, this has done nothing to dissuade clubs around the world that he is the real deal.

As Gareth Barry is slowly but surely reaching the age where retirement must come into consideration, recruits in the heart of midfield are needed. James McCarthy is energetic but does not quite possess the quality that Everton need, and the same can be said for the diminutive Besic. Witsel, on the other hand, is almost the complete midfielder, and would instantly become a key figure for Ronald Koeman’s Toffees.


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