Premier League • England

Benitez plans ‘absurd’ Everton move to bring former Arsenal ace back to England

Mkhitaryan Sanchez Arsenal Man Utd

Everton boss Rafa Benitez is eyeing a ‘sensational’ move for a former Arsenal attacker, according to reports in Italy.

The Spaniard’s transfer strategy has been exceptional since he took over at Goodison Park in late June. He was influential to the capture of Andros Townsend on a free transfer.

The 30-year-old has managed five goals and three assists in his first ten matches. A couple of those goals have been wonder strikes, too, such as the one against Burnley on September 13.

Benitez helped to bring in Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for just £1.6million. The winger seems to have a new lease of life on Merseyside and is a constant threat on the counter attack.

Salomon Rondon also joined Everton during the summer. He is a Benitez favourite from their time together at Newcastle United. The striker is yet to score but looks set for an important few weeks deputising for the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison up front.

The success of Benitez’s signings could see him given more trust by the Everton board of directors. It has now been reported that the manager is plotting a huge raid on Inter Milan.

Italian outlet Inter Live (via HITC) state that he wants to sign former Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez. Attacking reinforcements are needed as Gylfi Sigurdsson will leave next year and Richarlison continues to attract interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

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Sanchez could be available for a cut-price fee as he is unwanted at the San Siro. The Chilean has featured just three times in Serie A so far this campaign and is yet to complete a full 90 minutes.

The forward’s struggles at Inter and Man Utd previously have been well documented. However, he is a proven Premier League goalscorer from his time at Arsenal.

Sanchez was one of the Gunners’ most influential players between 2014 and 2018. Despite his history in England, Inter Live deem the potential move to be ‘absurd’.

They also state that an intriguing swap deal could be struck involving Cenk Tosun. The Turk has struggled to make an impact at Everton since joining back in January 2018.

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Benitez provides Everton injury update

Meanwhile, Benitez has updated Everton fans on the state of his squad before the weekend. The Toffees play Claudio Ranieri’s Watford on Saturday afternoon.

They go into the match as favourites given Watford’s 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool last time out.

Benitez told reporters at a pre-match press conference: “We have some issues. Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] has a re-injury. How long he will be out? We need to see. We will not see him for four or five weeks, maybe. I don’t like to put a timeframe on it.”

His striker partner Richarlison has struggled with a knee injury recently but could return against Watford. “Obviously the match fitness is an issue but he is happy and available for [the] visit of Watford,” Benitez said on the Brazilian.

Attention then turned to French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure. The 28-year-old has been one of Everton’s best performers this term, notching two goals and four assists so far.

But a club statement on Tuesday revealed that the player would have a lengthy lay off due to a foot problem.

Benitez added: “Doucoure is someone who has lots of energy, how can we replace him? With someone with the same passion and energy, hopefully.”

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