Benitez to make final decision as Everton talks ‘progress’ over savvy transfer

Asmir Begovic, Ivan Toney, Bournemouth v Brentford, May 2021

Everton are waiting for Rafael Benitez’s ‘final decision’ after the club closed in on a bargain deal for a Championship star, according to a source.

The goalkeeping situation at Everton had come under the microscope under former boss Carlo Ancelotti. Despite always being Gareth Southgate’s first choice with England, a series of errors at club level had thrust his starting spot into doubt.

Give our social media channels a follow – we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Loanee Robin Olsen was afforded the odd opportunity to impress, though the Swede did little to displace Pickford in the long run.

Olsen has since returned to Roma after the Toffees opted not to bring him back aboard. As such, the need for healthy competition with a competent back-up is now great.

And per trusted journalist Fabrizio Romano, the man that could fill that void is Bournemouth stopper, Asmir Begovic.

The 34-year-old bounced back last year after two loan spells away in Azerbaijan and Italy respectively.

Begovic played in all but one of the Cherries’ league matches as their promotion hopes ended in the play-offs.

Transfer Chatter - Varane set for Man Utd, Chelsea want Chiesa, Isco future in doubt

Raphael Varane looks set for Man Utd, Chelsea want Federico Chiesa and Isco's Real Madrid future is in doubt.

Everton have seemingly taken note of his resurgence, and Romano states they are in negotiations over a two-year deal.

Despite having a year remaining on his current contract, the prospective move would not require a transfer fee.

No reason is stated as to why that could happen. Though ridding their books of his wages that were agreed when Bournemouth were a Premier League side could go a long way to explaining the decision.

Talks are deemed to be ‘progressing’ and the final decision will lay with new boss Benitez.

Top 10 players never to win the Ballon d’Or: Neymar, Maldini, Henry…

Everton told defender bid must almost double

Meanwhile, Everton have been told to double their offer for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, claims a report, as Benitez sets about strengthening his squad.

The Senegal centre-back was thought to be a top target for Carlo Ancelotti. But when the Italian left for Real Madrid it was expected the interest in the 30-year-old defender would wane.

However, just the opposite has happened with new boss Benitez bringing Everton’s hopes of landing the defender back to life.

90min claimed that Koulibaly was still on Everton’s shortlist and is very near the top of it.

Of course, Benitez, has worked with Koulibaly before. He was Napoli’s coach when they signed the defender from Genk.

And now Calciomercato reports Napoli have rejected a bid of €35m plus performance-related bonuses. Apparently Napoli are seeking at least €60m for the player, whom they rated at close to nine figures not so long ago.

READ MORE: Benitez turns to Barcelona ‘leader’ to spearhead Everton Europe charge