Everton in three-club tussle to sign Brighton forward, as star’s transfer preference emerges

Neal Maupay embraces Leandro Trossard

A report claims Everton and Fulham are now in pursuit of Brighton and Hove Albion forward Neal Maupay, who looks set to leave the Amex this summer.

Maupay spent time at Nice and Saint-Etienne before moving to England in July 2017. Brentford paid Saint-Etienne £1.8million to sign the former France U21 international.

He went on to register 41 goals in 95 matches for the Bees, which saw Premier League clubs sit up and take notice.

Ultimately it was Brighton who won the race for his signature by parting with £16m to take him to the south coast.

Maupay has scored 27 goals in 109 outings for the Seagulls. This isn’t an eye-catching record and the Frenchman has often missed big chances for Brighton, along with several of his attacking team-mates.

Nevertheless, Maupay has shown he can compete in the top flight, while also causing opposition defenders problems with his pace and movement.

Nottingham Forest are in talks with Brighton and Maupay’s entourage over a summer switch. And according to Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth, these discussions are in an ‘advanced’ stage.

“Incredible, isn’t it? 15 signings through the door and they’re in advanced talks with Brighton over potential number 16 – this, the striker Neal Maupay,” he said, during an appearance on the Transfer Talk podcast.

“Fee under discussion thought to be £15m. Personal terms yet to be agreed.”

Moving to Forest for that amount would see Brighton take a £1m hit on the forward. This would be surprising given they usually hold out for big fees – just look at Marc Cucurella’s £60m transfer to Chelsea.

Everton, Fulham eye Neal Maupay move

Amid Forest’s pursuit of the Brentford star, Everton and Fulham are also planning to begin negotiations.

According to the Evening Standard, Frank Lampard’s side and the newly promoted Cottagers have made enquiries to Brighton.

Maupay forms part of Fulham’s wider striker search. They have been in contact over Bamba Dieng of Marseille, Bayern Munich’s Joshua Zirkzee and Bordeaux forward Ui-Jo Hwang.

While Everton and Fulham want to disrupt Forest’s move for Maupay, they look set for disappointment. That’s because Maupay’s preference is apparently to join Forest, which means that deal is highly likely to go through.

Everton are in desperate need of a new player to bolster their attack. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is once again struggling with injury. According to Lampard, the Englishman won’t return for another month.

After selling Richarlison to Tottenham for £60m, the Toffees’ only other option up front is Salomon Rondon. But he is a Rafa Benitez signing and Lampard could clearly do with a forward who has a better goalscoring record.

If Maupay joins Forest, then it is not the end of the world for Everton or Fulham. The Merseyside club are looking at Blackburn’s Ben Brereton Diaz as a transfer alternative. His stock is high after a 22-goal season in the Championship last term.

Fulham, meanwhile, have plenty of other strikers on their list, with Dieng and Zirkzee among them. Marco Silva can currently rely on Aleksandar Mitrovic, though a backup is required to take some pressure off him.

Meanwhile, an Everton exit could become the ‘transfer of the year’ for one European club, according to a report.