Everton showed they meant business on Thursday as they spent over £50million on two new signings, including the club-record acquisition of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland.
The Toffees, who finished seventh last season and will enter the Europa League qualifying rounds, forked out £30million for the England Under-21 international before adding Ajax skipper Davy Klaassen to their ranks later in the day for £23.5million.
Klaassen, 24, captained Ajax for the past two years and hit 49 goals in 163 appearances for the Eredivisie side – playing his last game for the club in the 2-0 Europa League final defeat to Manchester United.
He has also hit four goals in 14 international caps for Holland and cited a conversation with manager Ronald Koeman as the key moment in his decision to move to Goodison Park.
“I spoke a few weeks ago with Ronald Koeman about Everton,” he told the club’s official website.
“I wanted to come here and check if this was the right club for me and since I came here I feel so happy. It’s a great club.
“The moment that I spoke with the manager directly I got a good feeling. He’s an honest guy, we talked about the club, about the way he wants to play and that gave me a positive feeling.
“I talked to him about the club and everything we want to achieve and he was really positive. It’s difficult to leave Ajax but I think this is a good step for me now and I’m really looking forward to my time here.”
Klaassen will link up with Pickford for the start of next season after Everton announced they had doled out a club-record fee for the 23-year-old, who was nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year despite Sunderland finishing bottom of the Premier League.
Pickford has joined the Toffees for an initial £25million which could rise to £30million with add-ons, which would eclipse the £28million deal the Merseysiders struck with Chelsea for striker Romelu Lukaku in 2014.
Having suffered relegation with Sunderland, Pickford is glad to be back in the top-flight so soon.
He said: “It’s a great club, a massive club and I think it’s a great opportunity and the right time for me to come to Everton and show what I can do.
“This is an exciting time for the club and for me, too, with the ambition being shown. I just want to be the best I can be to help.”
Signing a goalkeeper always looked like being a top priority for Everton before they start the Premier League season at home to Stoke.
Dutchman Maarten Stekelenburg arrived last year, but neither he nor Joel Robles could nail down a regular spot between the posts as they made 19 Premier League starts each.
Everton were linked with Manchester City’s out-of-favour stopper Joe Hart when he was originally deemed surplus to requirements, and they seemed like one of his more obvious suitors again in this window.
However, Koeman has instead moved for the man who may be England’s number one further down the line.
He earned a call-up to England’s senior ranks in October and has represented his country at each of the six youth levels from Under-16 upwards.
Born in nearby Washington, Pickford came through Sunderland’s academy system and had a series of loan deals with the likes of Preston, Bradford and Carlisle prior to becoming his boyhood club’s number one last term.
The fee is short of the £35million Manchester City parted with earlier this summer to land Brazilian stopper Ederson – but still makes Pickford the most expensive British goalkeeper ever.
Klaassen is someone who Koeman will also expect to call upon in an attacking midfield role as Ross Barkley’s future at Everton is still up in the air.