Premier League • England

Major Chelsea blow as Everton star rejects Graham Potter approach to stay and fight relegation battle

Amadou Onana playing for Belgium

Everton summer signing Amadou Onana has rejected an approach by Chelsea as the club pushes to sign midfield reinforcements, according to reports. 

This is great news for Toffees fans but comes as a blow to the London club, as Graham Potter allegedly saw him as a viable alternative to Enzo Fernandez. Onana is touted to have huge potential and may head to a top club at the end of the season, but the Belgian has chosen to stay and fight relegation with Everton for now.

It’s no secret that Potter has been looking to bolster his midfield this month after pursuing several top-quality targets.

Chelsea have seen bids rejected for two players so far: Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, and Benfica’s Fernandez.

However, with both clubs demanding huge transfer fees, they turned to Onana as an alternative option. But the player has served up another disappointment for Chelsea.

That is according to French outlet Foot Mercatowho claim that the Blues tabled an offer to sign the Belgium international, but he has rejected their approach.

It now seems that Potter will now have to look elsewhere for a new centre-midfielder despite being a big fan of the player, with not long left remaining in the transfer window.

Keeping Onana comes as a major lift to relegation-threatened Everton

Onana began his career with Hoffenheim in Germany, before joining Hamburg and becoming a key player for them despite being just 18 at the time.

The Belgian then joined French side Lille in 2021, where he spent one successful season, making 42 appearances across all competitions and scoring three goals, as well as assisting one.

The 21-year-old signed for Everton on a stunning £33.5m deal last summer, as the Toffees fought off West Ham for his signature.

This season, he has been one of the few positives for Evertonians after showing flashes of brilliance while their team has struggled for points.

Onana was a consistent starter under recently-sacked Frank Lampard, making 18 appearances in the league, scoring and assisting once.

An imposing figure standing at 6ft 4in, he has the ability to play as a defensive, central or attacking midfielder, so he could have provided cover in a number of positions for Potter.

Indeed, Everton currently sit joint-bottom of the Premier League table after winning just three of their 20 opening league matches – the club’s worst start to a season in their history.

With that in mind, they are looking to do their own business this January, while they must also prioritise keeping their most important players and Onana certainly fits into that category.

Also, if Onana meets his sky-high potential, it’s likely that Everton would be able to command a higher transfer fee in the future, so it would be crazy to sell him now, especially in the midst of a relegation battle.

READ MORE: Chelsea could be tempted by £40m deadline offer for midfield star as Newcastle, Crystal Palace chase deal