Premier League • England

Key Everton target rules out summer move to Goodison Park in latest blow to Sean Dyche’s striker hunt

Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata has insisted he will not leave the Italian club in the summer transfer window, after being heavily linked with a switch to Everton. 

This will come as a blow to Sean Dyche and co, as the need for the Toffees to sign a new striker is clear to see at the moment.

Now, it seems Everton will have to look elsewhere for a new centre-forward, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Neal Maupay struggling to make an impact this term.

The Blues currently find themselves in the midst of yet another relegation battle after winning just six of their 27 opening Premier League games this season.

Scoring goals is the biggest problem for Everton at the moment, with Calvert-Lewin once again plagued by injuries and Maupay netting just once in 20 appearances so far.

Dyche was promised a new striker by the club’s majority shareholder late in the January window, with Zapata thought to be ‘close’ to making the switch to Goodison Park.

However, despite selling Anthony Gordon to Newcastle for £40m, the Toffees were ultimately the only Premier League club not to make a winter signing, despite their dire league position.

READ MORE: Man Utd to benefit from huge Everton transfer failure as Ten Hag learns offer needed to sign Eredivise ‘gem’

Zapata rules out Everton switch, with alternative target named

Now, Everton will have to look elsewhere for a new forward this summer, with Zapata ruling out a move away from Atalanta.

The Colombia international’s current contract is set to expire in June 2024, so this summer represents Atalanta’s last chance to receive some transfer funds for his signature.

However, if Zapata’s recent comments are to be believed, he seems happy to remain at the Italian club and leave on a free transfer when his deal runs out.

Speaking with Gazzetta dello Sport, when asked where he will be playing next season, Zapata replied: “Here.

“Even though since I’ve been at Atalanta every time the market opened they gave me to another team, even when I knew nothing about it.

“Here, where I am very well and where I can be even better if I find some continuity. And if we finish this championship well.”

Now, Everton are considering bringing in another Serie A striker as an alternative to Zapata.

The Toffees saw a bid turned down for Udinese centre-forward Beto late in the January window and recent reports suggest that they are ready to approach him again this summer. 

Beto could potentially fit perfectly into a Dyche system as a target man, standing at a towering height of 6ft 4, netting eight times in 26 Serie A outings this term.

The 25-year-old is also six years younger than Zapata, so could prove to be a better long-term addition for the Toffees, as they aim to climb back up the Premier League table.

READ MORE: Italian reports claim Dyche is close to first Everton signing with £17.6m transfer agreement imminent