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Everton

Marcel Brands should target Kevin Strootman reunion at Everton

Brands signed Strootman for PSV and is now in charge of dealings at Everton.

Mathew Nash

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Everton made sweeping changes behind the scenes yesterday. Sam Allardyce has been sacked as the first-team boss whilst there was also a boardroom reshuffle. Meanwhile, Steve Walsh has left his role as the director of football at Goodison Park and been replaced by PSV Eindhoven supremo Marcel Brands.

The Dutchman arrives with a huge reputation from his time in Dutch football. Undoubtedly, Everton will now find themselves linked with a long list of former players under Brands’ command.

Many of those players should be ignored but if Everton are to go for one former Brands player, it should be Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman.

(Photo credit should read MARCEL VAN HOORN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Dutchman was snapped up by Brands from Utrecht along with Belgian forward Dries Mertens and went on to become a regular at the Philips Stadion. After two brilliant seasons in Eindhoven, he headed to Roma. At one point it did look like he was on his way to England, but a move to Manchester United never materialised after a career-threatening knee injury.

Since then Strootman has recovered and established himself as a top European midfield operator during the past three seasons at the Stadio Olimpico.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Last summer he signed a new deal in the Italian capital, but Everton might just have enough to convince Strootman to finally make the move to the Premier League.

Financially, it would appear that Everton are going to be well backed again this summer by owner Farhad Moshiri. So putting together a deal that pleases both Roma and Stootman on that level should not be an issue. Everton also have players they are ready to move on, who could be included in any deal.

The problem would be convincing Strootman that he is better off at Everton then with the Champions League semi-finalists.

Which is where Brands would come in. He would need to be the man leading the negotiations to reunite with the Dutchman. Offering Strootman the chance to be the midfield lynchpin that Everton build around for the new campaign might just be enough to convince him that, at 28-years-old, this is his best chance to come and play in England.

It would be a tough deal to put together. But if Brands wants to win over the Everton fans, getting a deal for Strootman together as his first piece of business would be a pretty good start.

Everton

Everton have Lucas Digne bid accepted, a player Jurgen Klopp wanted in 2016

The French left-back has been the subject of a £22m bid from Everton.

Mathew Nash

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It appears that Everton have identified the left-back they want to sign this summer. Lucas Digne has been linked with the club in recent days. Now, according to the Mirror, Everton have agreed a £22 million fee with his club Barcelona.

Everton want a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines but decided against first-choice Kieran Tierney due to Celtic’s asking price for the Scotland international. Now Digne appears to be the first-choice.

This is not the first time that Digne has had the chance to head to Merseyside. In the summer of 2016, it was reported that Liverpool were after the Frenchman.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Mirror reported that Liverpool made an enquiry for the player in July 2016. But he headed to Barcelona instead. The Catalan club paid £13.8 million to sign the player from PSG, with Liverpool missing out.


“PSG already had an offer from a good English team but when we got in touch with the manager [he] told us that the player only wanted to come to Barcelona.”

-Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez after signing Digne


The Reds ended up playing James Milner at left-back that season, before signing Andrew Robertson a year ago.

Things have worked out for Liverpool, with Robertson a star player last term.

But Everton will love to bring in a player that Liverpool wanted just two years ago.

Digne, who thrived at Lille before struggling to break into the first-team at both PSG and Barcelona, also enjoyed an excellent loan spell at Roma in 2015-16.

With 21-caps for France and at only 25-years-old Everton will be getting a great player if Digne arrives. In an added bonus, a little burn on their local rivals will only make the deal sweeter.

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Crystal Palace

The media obsession with Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha should be ignored

The winger is being heavily linked with a move away from Selhurst Park.

Max Cohen

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Wilfried Zaha
Photo: Getty Images

Ask any Crystal Palace fan their least favourite part of the summer, and one answer will stand out: the endless media obsession about the future of Wilfried Zaha.

After further reports in The Times, Mirror, and The Sun linking the Ivory Coast international with a move away from Selhurst Park, Palace supporters should tune out the noise and focus on the facts of the matter.

Zaha is currently under contract at Selhurst Park, having signed a five-year deal just over a year ago. Despite the rumoured interest from the likes of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Borussia Dortmund, Crystal Palace hold all the cards in the situation.

And, to add to their strong position, manager Roy Hodgson has made it very clear he has no intention of selling the winger when speaking to football.london last week:

“What people seem to forget with Wilf is he has got a four-year contract. There is speculation every year around Messi and Ronaldo too. He is our player for the next four years and the club has got no interest or desire to sell him.”

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion at Selhurst Park on May 13, 2018 in London, England.

This strong statement from the Palace manager is the only thing that holds significance with regards to the Zaha saga. At the end of the day, there can be as much speculation and interest from clubs as possible, but if the club is not willing to sell then the player will stay put.

Additionally, the reports that Zaha is unsettled at Palace seem like nothing more than sensational claims. This is a player who expressed his love for the fans and the club as recently as April, talking to the Eagles’ official website after a win against Brighton.

“Crystal Palace is my home town and the support we have here is genuine support with families watching with their kids loving us as players so I don’t really see myself anywhere else.”

In all, one must focus on what is relevant in the Wilfried Zaha transfer saga: the actual words of the figures involved.

With Zaha expressing his happiness and Hodgson making it clear no sale is forthcoming, the media obsession over the winger’s Selhurst Park exit appears unfounded.

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Everton

£3m Roberto Martinez project Shani Tarashaj thrown on to Everton scrapheap

The Swiss talent has not developed into the star Everton’s former boss hoped he would.

Mathew Nash

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It appears as though Shani Tarashaj is finally on his way out of Everton for good. This morning he completed a loan move back to his former club Grasshoppers Zurich, with a view to a permanent move next summer.

With the potential of a permanent move to Grasshoppers, it would bring the curtain down on a move that simply never worked out.

Tarashaj joined Everton back in January 2016. Then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed the attacking midfielder Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers with the fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, around £3 million.


“I feel he is going to bring something very, very special to us. He is probably the best young talent in Swiss football.

“There are a couple of young players with a good reputation but I think he could have really good future…I feel that he’s going to get fans off their feet. He’s that type of young talent that we like to attract to Goodison.” 

  – Roberto Martinez after signing Tarashaj


Tarashaj was loaned back to Grasshoppers until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

(Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

But things quickly went wrong for Tarashaj.

Martinez was sacked, with Ronald Koeman clearly not fancying the Swiss star. A loan move in Germany went poorly. Eintracht Frankfurt snapped him up but he struggled with benign angina, severe tonsillitis and a knee ligament tear last summer compounded his misery.

Everton now face the fact they will likely lose Tarashaj next summer, without the 23-year-old ever playing a game for the club.

This £3 million gamble has clearly not paid off.

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