Everton: United winger linked; pursuit of striker to resume; Lukaku must leave
There is some potentially exciting news on the transfer front emerging from Goodison Park on Thursday, as the Liverpool Echo reports that the Toffees are currently considering a loan bid in January for forgotten Manchester United man Memphis Depay.
The Dutch international winger has struggled for form at Old Trafford since his £25million move from PSV Eindhoven under the regime of Louis Van Gaal, but compatriot Ronald Koeman is keen to work with the talented yet raw 22-year-old, in the hope that he can reignite the form shown during his stint with the Dutch giants, where he scored 50 goals in 124 Eredivisie appearances.
Despite rising to prominence with PSV and featuring in the Netherlands’ run to the World Cup semi-finals in 2o14, Depay has only made six appearances for the Red Devils under José Mourinho, but the club are thought to be unwilling to allow the youngster to leave Old Trafford when the transfer window opens in January.
With a loan bid the most likely outcome, therefore, Koeman is reportedly banking on his Dutch connection to help Depay rediscover the spark that moulded him into one of Europe’s most promising youngsters. The Everton boss was also in attendance for the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw with close neighbours Belgium, with Depay in the Dutch squad.
Last year while in charge at Southampton, Koeman admitted that he was in the market for Depay before the youngster opted to join Van Gaal’s United for £25million in June 2015.
“We tried to bring him to Southampton but he wanted to stay for one more year at PSV,” Koeman recalled.
“When United went in for him this summer, we knew at Saints that we had no chance. When they come, we have no chance.”
The one issue that may cast doubt on the deal now is whether or not United would be willing to allow their man to join a potential top six rival, particularly with other clubs throughout Europe, including Serie A giants AS Roma, thought to be interested in an acquisition.
That isn’t all either. There’s also talk that Everton could dip back into the market in January and seek to finally pull of their swoop for Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini, after contract talks between player and club reportedly broke down this week.
That news emerges from Italian website Mediaset Premium via the Liverpool Echo, and the reckoning is that the 24-year-old is highly likely to leave the club in January.
The Toffees were foiled in their deadline day bid for the Italian striker in the summer, with Napoli unwilling to part with the attacker following the sale of Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus. However with the forward seemingly falling further and further out of favour with the Napoli hierarchy, this latest development could see the Merseysiders in with a real chance of bringing the forward to Goodison come January.
Highs and lows however go hand in hand, and it isn’t all sunshine and roses on the blue half of Merseyside either, particularly given the comments that have emerged via BBC Sport from Everton boss Ronald Koeman, who has sensationally claimed that star striker Romelu Lukaku will eventually need to leave Everton to fulfil his world-class potential.
23-year-old Lukaku has been with the Toffees since 2013, when he joined on-loan from Chelsea, before he put pen to paper permanently at Goodison Park for a club record £28million in the summer of 2014.
After reportedly issuing a transfer request during the summer which was subsequently turned down amidst interest from former club Chelsea, Lukaku has gone on to score seven of Everton’s 15 goals in the Premier League this season.
“His potential is greater and higher than Everton as a final destination,” Koeman told Belgian newspaper HLN, as quoted by BBC Sport.
“If Romelu was to play at Everton until the end of his career I know he has left something behind”.
“I gave him confidence and he has himself recognised that it was good for his development to play another year at Everton. What after this season comes, no-one knows.”
The club are however thought to be drafting up a new long-term contract for the Belgian, who is under contract until 2019. A new deal would make the forward, who has netted a total of 68 goals in 137 league appearances, their highest-paid player. He has also netted 17 goals at international level for Belgium, and has invited comparisons to one of Koeman’s compatriots, the great Netherlands forward Patrick Kluivert.
Koeman said: “Kluivert was also a striker who was quite young when he was in the picture and had a fantastic career. Eventually Kluivert played for Barcelona, which could happen with Lukaku.
“I think Lukaku is quite complete. He can hold a ball and be a target man and, because he is tall and physically strong, you can play directly with the long ball.”
World-class potential maybe, but for now at least, it is essential that Everton keep hold of him for as long as they can.
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