Benitez agrees first signing for Everton as pundit tears into Toffees fans

Rafa Benitez, new Everton boss during his Newcastle days

Everton have agreed to the signing of experienced goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, with the Bosnian due to become the first signing of the Rafael Benitez era at Goodison Park.

Benitez has got to what at the Toffees since his somewhat-controversial appointment earlier this month. And signing a new goalkeeper, as cover and competition for Jordan Pickford, was one of his immediate priorities.

However, according to Fabrizio Romano, Begovic will undergo a medical with Everton on Saturday with his signing due to be announced “within hours”.

As per the trusted transfer journalist, Begovic will join Everton on a free transfer and on a contract to 2023.

The former Stoke man has been with Bournemouth since 2017, but now leaves a year before his deal was due to expire. The Cherries are releasing him on a free in order to get his wages off their books. The 34-year-old won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2016/17 and will bring with him vast experience of top-flight football.

Begovic replaces Robin Olsen, who returned to Roma after his season on loan at Goodison. The Swede is now being linked with Brighton, Burnley and West Ham.

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Merson baffled by Benitez criticism

Paul Merson, meanwhile, claims to be baffled by criticism from Everton fans at the appointment of Benitez.

The Spaniard’s arrival as successor to Carlo Ancelotti has not gone down well with some fans due to his association with Liverpool.

However, writing in his Daily Star column, Merson reckons Toffees fans should be grateful.

He said: “Rafa Benitez is a phenomenal appointment for Everton, and I’m flabbergasted their fans aren’t doing cartwheels about it.

“I’d be dancing in the streets! He’s one of the best managers around. It’s Liverpool fans who should be going mental.

“I can’t understand Everton fans who don’t like this appointment. Who did they think they would get?

“He thinks he can do something special. He wouldn’t have taken the job otherwise.

“But you’re only as good as your players, and they need to back him in the transfer market. They need to deliver for him.”

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