Premier League • England

Everton set to enter talks for midfield target with €45m release clause

Iddrisu Baba Mallorca

Everton are eyeing a cut-price move for a Mallorca star, according to reports in Spain.

The Toffees are searching for reinforcements ahead of the January transfer window. Rafa Benitez is low on midfield options following injuries to Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes.

Doucoure, who has been one of Everton’s best performers this season, picked up a foot problem in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham. He has missed two games since but will not require an operation, as confirmed by the club.

Gomes, meanwhile, has been out for several weeks with a calf injury. He could return for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Tottenham.

Benitez does still have Allan, Fabian Delph, Tom Davies and Jean-Philippe Gbamin at his disposal. However, Delph is not fully fit after suffering from a dislocated shoulder earlier this campaign.

Gbamin is unlikely to be relied upon following his poor performance in Monday’s defeat to Wolves.

Sport Witness, citing reports in the Spanish press, provide an update on Everton’s midfield hunt.

They state that Benitez and the Toffees have ‘set their sights’ on Mallorca’s Iddrisu Baba.

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He is a 25-year-old central midfielder who represents Ghana at international level. He has put in some solid displays during Mallorca’s mixed start to the season.

Baba’s release clause stands at €45m (£38.1m). However, the Spanish side know they will have to sell at some point and are willing to negotiate.

Everton have ‘no intention’ of paying that much. They are instead confident of landing the star for much less than his contract stipulates.

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50 per cent of the transfer fee will reportedly go to Baba’s previous club, Leganes. Everton will ‘take this into account’ when attempting to finalise a deal.

Baba has made 105 appearances for Mallorca since gaining promotion to their senior squad in 2018. He isn’t exactly known for his goalscoring prowess, having managed just one goal in that time.

Pundit looking forward to ‘huge’ Everton return

Meanwhile, Football Insider pundit Noel Whelan is expecting Doucoure to make a big impact when he returns from injury.

Everton’s midfield has looked weak and uninspiring in his absence. His return could prove vital if they are to finish in the top eight this term.

When asked about the 28-year-old, Whelan said: “[His return] will be huge for Everton. He’s one of those players who goes box-to-box, 18-yard to 18-yard.

“The manager has given him that bit more attacking freedom this season. We’ve seen him getting into the box a lot more and it’s been highly effective with the goals and assists he’s managed to get.

“The shackles have come off for him this season, he’s not been restricted. He’s been given a real licence to express himself and cause opposition problems.

“He looked like he was enjoying a new lease of life before the injury. It will be a massive plus for him to come back.”

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