Noel Whelan believes that Everton may be close to ‘one of the best signings of the summer’ as a deal for giant midfielder Amadou Onana nears completion.
The 20-year-old was watching on from the stands as an injury-hit Toffees side were beaten 1-0 in their Premier League opener against Chelsea at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
Onana has already undergone a medical after Everton agreed a near £35million deal with Lille for his services.
Frank Lampard’s men will pay £30.3m up front plus a further £3.4m in add-ons. The deal will also include a 20% sell-on clause.
West Ham were initially tipped to land the midfield powerhouse but a move collapsed over a contract disagreement.
Onana, who has one cap for Belgium, made 40 appearances for Lille in the 2021-22 campaign. However, in the majority of those games he was used from the bench.
But despite that, Whelan is impressed by Everton’s imminent capture of the player, especially when they need new midfield recruits after the summer exits of Fabian Delph and Donny van de Beek.
Onana deal could be real Everton coup
Whelan told Football Insider: “He’s at the right age to hit the ground running.
“West Ham hit a stumbling block and felt they couldn’t agree the personal terms. Everton have swooped in and are obviously confident they can do that.
“Everton need midfielders and more quality in there. They feel that Onana is the player to get them out of the position they were in last season.
“It’s a move which could have real longevity, he’s only 20. It could be one of the best signings of the summer if they can beat all these other sides.
“They’re hoping that he can be a big part of the midfield for however long his contract may be.”
Onana could make his Everton debut in next Saturday’s lunch-time clash at Aston Villa.
More injuries leave Lampard pondering market moves
And his addition we will be a much-needed boost for an Everton side who suffered even more injury woe against Chelsea.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sidelined before the match after suffering a knee injury in training. However, Lampard watched on as Ben Godfrey suffered a fractured fibula in the first half.
Mason Holgate replaced the centreback, but Everton were hit further when Yerry Mina limped off in the second period.
And Lampard was crestfallen after the game, saying: “It makes it hard. Ben gets that injury, we think it’s a small fracture of his leg, his fibula. So we’ll see how long that will be.
“Yerry suffered an ankle injury that we don’t know much about yet.
“We’ve had that here a little bit. It’s hard to put your finger on those – Ben’s foot gets caught in the grass, Yerry’s I didn’t see.
“They’re not muscle injuries, they’re freak injuries and so we have to make sure that the squad is strong enough to handle those things.”
Asked if it will change what the club will do in the remaining weeks of the summer window, Lampard added: “Maybe, maybe not.
“We’ve got centre backs at the club but we’re looking in different areas and we know what we want to do.
“I’m not going to declare it now but people can feel that there’s movement and we’re trying to work in the right direction.”