Everton unstoppable in chase for Serie A star as Dyche draws up offer despite transfer declaration

Duvan Zapata and Stefan de Vrij

Nothing will stop Everton in their pursuit of Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata with the Toffees reportedly ready to submit a bid.

Zapata moved to Atalanta, initially on loan, in summer 2018. His transfer became permanent in January 2020 when Atalanta spent €12million on him.

During Zapata’s time at the Gewiss Stadium, the Colombian has proven himself to be a reliable Serie A goalscorer. He has found the back of the net 80 times in 181 appearances for the club.

Zapata’s goals helped Atalanta finish third in Serie A three times in a row between 2018 and 2021, which is a big achievement for the side. They also enjoyed playing in the Champions League, reaching the last eight in the 2019-20 campaign.

Zapata’s best season in front of goal for Atalanta came in 2018-19, when he scored 28 times in 48 appearances across all competitions. Not only did Atalanta finish third in the league that season, they also reached the Coppa Italia final. But it was not to be for the Bergamo-based outfit as they lost 2-0 to Lazio.

Things have gone downhill for both Zapata and Atalanta recently. Last term, the 31-year-old’s goal output was reduced to 13 strikes amid injuries in the second half of the campaign. This affected Atalanta as they fell down to eighth in the league.

Zapata has had to deal with more injury problems this season, meaning he has only managed one goal in 19 appearances so far.

According to Italian outlet Il Giorno, this has seen Zapata’s transfer value ‘collapse drastically’. And Everton are looking to pounce on the situation.

Everton still on trail of Duvan Zapata

While the attacker has not been at his brilliant best in the last two seasons, Everton still view this as a great opportunity. They believe they can keep him fit and get him firing in the Premier League, which would help to launch them up the table.

Not only has Zapata’s form resulted in his value dropping, but this will have also happened due to his contract expiring in 2024. Due to these factors, Everton believe they can get Zapata on the cheap.

Toffees boss Sean Dyche is apparently ready to offer €15m (£13.1m) for him. That is despite his value reaching €45m back in 2020.

Atalanta may be inclined to accept Everton’s proposal given Zapata’s recent struggles and the fact his contract is running down. The main obstacle Everton must overcome is Zapata’s recent transfer declaration.

During an interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, he was asked where he would be playing next season. He replied: “Here.

“Even though since I’ve been at Atalanta every time the market opened they gave me to another team, even when I knew nothing about it.

“Here, where I am very well and where I can be even better if I find some continuity. And if we finish this championship well.”

It seems nothing will stop Everton, not even this kind of transfer declaration, as they look to revamp their striker ranks with Zapata’s arrival.

In order to snare him, they must put an attractive contract on the table. Although, this could be tricky given the small budget on Dyche’s hands.

Meanwhile, Everton have reportedly struck up an interest in a West Ham forward as well.