Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson is a wanted man – and it seems Everton manager Ronald Koeman will stop at nothing to ensure the Icelandic international signs for the Toffees this summer.
After having an opening offer of £40 million rebuffed by the South Wales outfit, according to Sky Sports, Koeman has returned with an improved bid of £40 million, plus £5 million in add-ons, according to the Telegraph.
Swans’ chairman Huw Jenkins has previously slapped a price-tag of £50 million, as per The Guardian on the Icelandic international, who missed the club’s pre-season tour to the United States due to concerns about his state of mind following the transfer speculation.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise to see the club rejecting Everton’s latest offer, as Sky Sports sources understand.
Koeman’s admiration for Sigurdsson is an open secret and, despite having already spent upwards of £90 million this summer, the Dutchman looks intent on writing another sizeable cheque.
An attacking midfielder with an eye for goal – not to mention a master from set pieces – Sigurdsson’s stock has risen since he joined Swansea, after a tough time at Tottenham Hotspur in which he failed to establish himself. His form has not gone unnoticed.
However, when assessing Everton’s squad, players of Sigurdsson’s type are not found to be in short supply.
Among Koeman’s summer signings are Wayne Rooney and Davvy Klaassen, both of whom can fulfill the attacking midfielder role, while Ross Barkley and Tom Davies were given plenty of game-time last season.
It is not a position in which Everton look weak. In fact, Koeman has plenty of options that can play in behind a number nine.
It is easy to see why Swansea are so determined to keep hold of Sigurdsson. Without him, they would arguably not be a Premier League club.
The 27-year-old was their chief architect last season with 13 assists and he also scored nine goals, including a crucial equaliser against Manchester United at Old Trafford, which boosted their survival aspirations.
Swansea are under absolutely no pressure to sell and hold all the cards here, with Sigurdsson only one year into an improved four-year contract.
Everton know the amount they will have to stump up to land their target, with Jenkins adamant that his club will not sell the Icelandic superstar for less than £50 million. It has been a protracted saga that may continue deep into the transfer window.
Sigurdsson would enhance the Everton squad but would he provide the top-class quality that could propel Everton into the top six, which has to be the club’s objective this coming season? There is no guarantee of that.
Having already bolstered his midfield, perhaps Koeman would be wise to give up on Sigurdsson and look elsewhere, where he may find better value for money.
Salif Sane is the centre-back Everton must sign in the summer
The Senegal defender has been in fine form for Hannover 96 this season.
Salif Sane may not be a player well known to many fans in England, but this season he has emerged as a superstar in German football.
The 27-year-old has been in incredible form for Hannover 96 this season. According to the stats aggregator, WhoScored, Sane is rated as the second-best player in the Bundesliga, with only Bayern Munich’s James Rodriguez ahead of him.
His form should surely have caught the eye of Everton.
The Toffees have had a torrid time defensively this season.
Ashley Williams has been in awful form and has lost the backing of fans with his recent red card versus Burnley.
Michael Keane has struggled to replicate his Burnley form at Goodison Park.
Phil Jagielka’s age is catching up with him whilst Mason Holgate has been erratic.
The less said about loan signing Eliaquim Mangala the better. With Ramiro Funes Mori sidelined for most of the campaign, Everton have leaked goals.
Sane could be the perfect plug.
The Senegal defender, who came through the ranks at Bordeaux and later Nancy, is exactly what Everton need.
Sane is a no-nonsense defender whose main aim is to keep out goals. Defending is his first priority.
One area of his game where he is imperious is in the air. Not many players beat the 6ft 5 ins powerhouse in an aerial battle.
This season has been a breakthrough campaign for Sane.
This summer he will be in the Senegal squad at the World Cup in Russia, with plenty expected of a side containing the likes of Sadio Mane and Keita Balde Diao.
Sane would join his international colleague Idrissa Gana Gueye at Everton and would arrive more than capable of finally steadying the ship in Everton’s woefully inept defensive unit.
If not Sane, then someone else, but it is fair to say not many players in Everton’s price-range would be able to have the impact the Senegal defender might if given the chance.
Matthew Pennington’s future looks away from Everton after loan woes
The defender has been on loan at Leeds United this season.
This season Everton decided to send Matthew Pennington out on loan to Leeds United. The centre-back had little chance of getting into the Everton first-team. The Toffees had signed Michael Keane in the summer from Burnley. He joined a centre-back contingent containing Ashley Williams, Phil Jagielka and Mason Holgate. With Ramiro Funes Mori also on the books Pennington’s chances of football at Goodison Park looked slim.
Leeds needed a new centre-back this summer. Kyle Bartley’s loan deal had come to an end so Pennington looked like a good recruit.
However, he has struggled since his switch to Elland Road. Pennington has battled niggling injury problems throughout the campaign.
The injuries began on the opening day of the season. Pennington played 64 minutes of the Bolton Wanderers clash before limping out of action. He had suffered an ankle injury and was not seen again until the 26th September defeat against Cardiff City.
Pennington also had injuries in November and throughout January. Leeds have not been able to rely on the 23-year-old and that has left Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper exposed at times this campaign.
Everton will no doubt be disappointed to see their talented defender struggling for form in the Championship.
Pennington looked assured, composed and fit in his Leeds debut, but limping out in the 64th minute truly defines the campaign he has had at Elland Road.
This summer his contract at Everton comes to an end. Based on his performances in West Yorkshire the Everton graduate is unlikely to have a future at Goodison Park in the long run.
It is certainly a shame as the 23-year-old has the potential to be a very talented player. Everton however does not look like being his long-term home.
Hopefully this summer Pennington can find himself a new home and find some consistency in terms of form and fitness.
Everton fans will certainly like to see him come good elsewhere and wish him the best of luck.
Sevilla triumph will have Everton fans regretting Steven N’Zonzi failure
The French midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Everton in January.
Manchester United were sent crashing out of the Champions League last night, with Spanish side Sevilla doing the damage at Old Trafford. Two goals from substitute Wissam Ben Yedder sent United on their way and fans were left frustrated at their side’s negative and reactive tactics. United were dominated in midfield, with Steven N’Zonzi in fine form.
His performance would have been hard to take for Everton fans. In January it certainly looked as though the Frenchman was on his way to Goodison Park. The Liverpool Echo reported that Everton were keen, with the player valued at £25 million.
Toward the end of December Everton manager Sam Allardyce made his interest in the midfielder clear, being quoted by the Daily Mail as stating:
“I’d be very interested in Steven but if you have a look at how many footballers there are at the club, then it is impossible for me to block that up even more.
“We would be better served in other areas – like another goalscorer, maybe a full-back. After that who knows.”
It seemed that Everton’s litany of midfield options put paid to any actual deal. Allardyce, who had tried calling N’Zonzi up for England duty and first brought him to England with Blackburn Rovers, was clearly a fan. But unless Morgan Schneiderlin or another midfielder moved on a deal was off the cards for the player.
At the time the French midfielder’s Sevilla career looked over. He had fallen out with manager Eduardo Berizzo and was in danger of being frozen out. When Italian Vincenzo Montella replaced Berizzo, N’Zonzi was back in favour.
Everton therefore never managed to bring in the player in January. Based on the evidence of last night they are clearly missing out. The French international provided the perfect basis for Ever Banega to pull the strings in midfield for Sevilla. N’Zonzi, who also had a successful spell at Stoke City, was composed, athletic and commanding in the midfield.
Everton have struggled to find consistency this season. Much of that has been down to the fluctuating performances of their central midfielders. N’Zonzi would have been an immense January arrival for the Toffees.
Allardyce is a massive fan, but his future at Everton looks to be on the ropes itself. Any dream Everton have of bringing in N’Zonzi looks to be dead. After watching him dominate United last night, that is a bitter pill to swallow.
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