Everton agree £22m sale of outstanding midfielder in shock departure to Premier League rival

Demarai Gray, Mason Holgate and Alex Iwobi of Everton

Fulham are close to finalising a reported £22million deal with Everton for Alex Iwobi as the summer transfer deadline approaches.

The Evening Standard report that the former Arsenal winger is expected to seal a surprise return to London despite arguably being Sean Dyche’s best player as the Toffees fought relegation last season.

Cottagers boss Marco Silva wants to add more quality to his squad, despite already bringing in the likes of Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore, Calvin Bassey, Timothy Castagne and goalkeeper Steven Benda.

Iwobi could also join Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at Craven Cottage, with the Tottenham midfielder also said to be in talks over a move across London.

The Dane would be a straight replacement for Joao Palhinha, who appears to be closing in on a move to Bayern Munich.

As for Iwobi, the 27-year-old returns to the capital after four years away, having previously graduated through Arsenal’s academy.

Iwobi versatility a big plus for Silva

The Nigerian international played against Fulham in the Toffees’ opening-day defeat at Goodison Park, and has made two appearances so far this season.

His versatility is also a major asset, with Iwobi able to play on either wing or in central midfield, as he showed to great success last term.

The midfielder scored nine goals in 140 appearances for the Goodison Park outfit but now appears destined to move to The Cottage.

READ MORE: Fulham line up deadline day move for Man Utd star Ten Hag will sell as Joao Palhinha nears exit