Pundit backs Benitez to continue transfer masterclass with January deals

Date published: Wednesday 13th October 2021 8:06 - James Holland

Rafa Benitez Everton

Former defender Alan Hutton thinks Rafa Benitez can continue his exceptional transfer strategy in January.

The Spaniard arrived at Goodison Park in late June after being approached by Toffees director Marcel Brands. His appointment received criticism from many fans due to his ties with arch rivals Liverpool.

However, Benitez has engineered a solid start to the campaign for Everton. They sit in fifth place following four wins from their opening seven matches. They have beaten the likes of Southampton and Brighton, as well as holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw.

A big part of their success has been new signings Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray. Townsend arrived on a free transfer from Crystal Palace, while Gray was signed for just £1.6m.

Between them they have registered an impressive six goals and three assists in the league.

Hutton reckons Benitez will look for more hidden gems in the January transfer window. His budget remains tight due to Everton’s lavish spending in recent years.

“He’s not done too bad so far [after] his first transfer window,” Hutton told Football Insider. “The boys he’s brought in have been absolutely superb. It is what it is. Sometimes teams are in that market where they can’t spend big.

“Everton, over the past could of seasons, have spent a lot of money. A lot of them haven’t quite worked out.

“It’ll be a case of see what you can get. If you can bolster the squad with somebody relatively cheaper then no problem.

“They’re going well at the moment. The signings are doing really well, they’ve hit the ground running and I’m sure the fans and Benitez will be really happy so far.”

Everton have been linked with a number of players recently. One big name is Real Madrid playmaker Isco. The Spaniard is out of contract next summer which means he could soon leave the Bernabeu.

Benitez has a pre-existing relationship with Isco from his time as Real manager. Spanish source Mundo Deportivo write that Everton could launch a bid to secure his services.

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Meanwhile, Everton could be about to take another loss on a signing from a previous summer. Jean-Philippe Gbamin joined the club for £25m in 2019.

However, serious injuries have limited him to just four appearances in all competitions. Everton chiefs are now preparing themselves for a loss on the midfielder.

Reports in Turkey claim that Fenerbahce are interested in snapping up Gbamin. They are willing to meet his €15m (£12.7m) asking price.

Such a transfer would see Everton lose out on around £12.3m. They have already lost £5m on Italy forward Moise Kean, who re-joined Juventus this summer.

READ MORE: Southall names one ‘immense’ Benitez change behind Everton success

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