A pair of exciting attackers from Ligue 1 are on Rafael Benitez’s Everton radar as he looks to revamp their ailing forward line in January, per multiple reports.
Everton began the season in fine style, and were in the top four conversation after seven matches. However, injuries to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison left them with a mountain to climb in the final third.
Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend’s heroics dried up, and while Richarlison has returned, the goals have not. Indeed, Everton have notched just five goals in their last five league matches, winning none.
With their season in clear danger of drifting towards mediocrity, Benitez could act in the transfer market.
The Russia international, 25, is capable of operating virtually anywhere in an advanced position. In just Ligue 1 this season, he has been deployed on the left wing, right wing, attacking midfield and also in a deeper role.
Also in the frame is Lille’s Jonathan Ikone. The 23-year-old operates primarily on the right wing and featured in all but one league match as Lille upset PSG to the Ligue 1 title last season.
The France international’s contract expires in the summer of 2023, making the January window the ideal time for Lille to cash in before the forward’s price begins to drop.
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Everton and West Ham’s interest in Ikone was detailed by Sport Witness on Friday. The pair appear set to face competition for his signature from Serie A high flyers, AC Milan.
That particular report did not indicate a hard figure that would be required to twist Lille’s arm. They did, however, insist any bid will need to be ‘significant’.
Everton were one of the lowest spenders in the summer, forking out just £1.7m on transfer fees. Whether they will be able to muster the funds to splash the cash in January, only time will tell.
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Everton are looking to add to their forward line in 2022. Star men Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison continue to attract attention from other teams. Arsenal and Newcastle are monitoring Calvert-Lewin, while Richarlison is a target for PSG.
The man on both the Toffees and Blues’ radar is FC Porto ace Luis Diaz. He has been in great form this campaign, notching 11 goals in 16 appearances. That includes two recent Champions League goals against AC Milan.
The chances of a transfer were boosted last month as Diaz made super agent Pini Zahavi his agent. However, the latest reports coming out of Portugal are not so promising. Sport Witness, citing those rumours, state that Diaz will remain with Porto past January.
The Portuguese outfit are keen to keep him so they have a solid chance of winning the league title. Club president Pinto da Costa is aware of the transfer interest but will not entertain any offers this winter.
Instead, Porto may look to sell Diaz in the summer. Bids of around €25m were made earlier this year but the club could receive a far higher fee if the Columbian continues his impressive form.