Frank Lampard and Everton are plotting a bold approach to sign Belgium midfielder Leander Dendoncker from Wolves, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Everton have been one of the most inactive Premier League clubs in terms of transfers this summer. Their only new arrival so far is centre-back James Tarkowski, who came on a free transfer from Burnley.
The Toffees lost Richarlison to Tottenham as Antonio Conte’s side paid £60million for the Brazilian. However, Everton are yet to replace the forward and Lampard admits this is affecting his team in pre-season.
To make matters worse, Everton have done little to trim their squad and wage bill. Cenk Tosun, Fabian Delph and Jonjoe Kenny are the only squad outcasts to have left so far. They could probably do with getting rid of Rafa Benitez signing Salomon Rondon too, to use his salary on a more useful player.
Everton have been linked with plenty of stars during the summer window. They include Armando Broja, Gini Wijnaldum and Emmanuel Dennis.
However, negotiations haven’t begun with any of those three reported targets. The Merseyside outfit need to get moving if they are to bring in a Richarlison successor up front, as well as other players, to make sure they don’t take part in another relegation battle.
Transfer specialist Romano has given a bit of an insight into what Lampard’s plans are for the rest of the window. He states the Englishman wants an ‘extra quality midfielder’ to improve his team ready for next season.
Wolves star Dendoncker is on Lampard’s shortlist. The 27-year-old is ‘appreciated by the board and manager’. And Romano has backed Everton to ‘explore’ the possibility of his signing in the near future.
Slight hope for Everton in Leander Dendoncker chase
One reason Everton might be looking at Dendoncker is his contract situation. His current Wolves deal expires next year. Although Wanderers have the option to extend buy 12 months, they are in a slightly precarious position.
If Dendoncker doesn’t wish to extend at Molineux, Everton can use this to their advantage by driving Wolves’ asking price down.
Wolves will be wary of the interest from a Premier League rival and could now begin contract renewal talks with Dendoncker as a result.
The Belgium international, currently on 29 caps, has been a reliable performer for Wolves since joining them in July 2019.
Last term, he made 34 appearances across all competitions. Due to Bruno Lage’s reliance on him, Wolves would probably ask for a relatively big transfer fee initially.
The West Midlands club paid Anderlecht £12.4million for Dendoncker three years ago. They would want to make a profit on him if an exit did occur, so Everton will be quoted at more than this.
Despite Everton wanting to sign Dendoncker, they may have to go for alternative midfielders. That’s because Dendoncker would be dropping down the league if he went to Goodison Park.
In the 2021-22 campaign, Wolves came 10th in the Premier League. Everton, in contrast, only managed 16th. Dendoncker will not want to swap a club battling for a top-10 spot for a team fighting against relegation.
Meanwhile, West Ham are ready to rival Everton when it comes to the capture of Blackburn’s Ben Brereton Diaz.