Everton are hoping to beat two other Premier League sides to the signature of Villarreal winger Nicolas Jackson, according to a report.
It is currently a priority for Everton to find a new forward before the transfer window closes on September 1. The sale of Richarlison earlier in the summer and an injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin could force them to take action.
After losing their first two matches of the Premier League season, too, the focus on how a new signing could help may be about to increase.
One player supposedly on their radar, per Football Insider, is Nicolas Jackson. Hailing from Senegal, he has been building up his career in Spain with Villarreal.
Last season, Jackson earned his first eight appearances in La Liga, while also playing for Villarreal’s B team as well. This term, he has started as he means to go on with the first team, scoring on his first appearance since the kick-off.
At the age of 21, he is a talent that some clubs could be keeping an eye on. According to Football Insider, Everton are among his admirers.
They have been scouting Jackson and could now speed up their potential pursuit after seeing the impact he made on his season debut.
To get him, they will have to stay ahead of Fulham and Southampton in the battle for his signature. Either club could also be making their own plans to bring Jackson to the Premier League.
Both Fulham and Southampton saw Jackson’s abilities first hand this summer when playing against Villarreal in pre-season friendlies. He started at St Mary’s Stadium and came on at Craven Cottage; Unai Emery’s side won 2-1 and drew 1-1 respectively.
Whoever wants him might have to pay a fee of around £27million, which is the value of his release clause. He is only under contract with the Yellow Submarine for another season, though.
Hence, it is up to the likes of Everton – who have been under scrutiny for their finances this summer – to decide whether Jackson would be worth investing that much in.
Nicolas Jackson could cover several Everton roles
The Toffees have made five signings so far during Frank Lampard’s first summer in charge. James Tarkowski joined on a free transfer, they bought Dwight McNeil and Amadou Onana, and Ruben Vinagre and Conor Coady signed on loan.
Their next area of focus is in attack, where Jackson could help them. Across his career so far, he has played on either wing (but mainly the right), as a supporting striker or even a centre-forward.
In theory, he could give them what they will be lacking the wake of Richarlison’s exit. The Brazilian could also play out wide or centrally.
But it is clear that, despite the current excitement, Jackson is some way off Richarlison’s level at this moment in time. Everton would likely have to be patient, since Jackson is not the finished article. But he could be a decent depth option.
Even if they activate his release clause, though, it will be up to Jackson whether to accept the transfer or not.