Everton eye Europa League-winning winger with £71m release clause

Samuel Chukwueze

New Everton manager Rafa Benitez is reportedly keeping tabs on Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, who lifted the Europa League last season.

The Nigeria international missed the final after suffering a groin injury in the second leg of his side’s semi-final victory over Arsenal, but was an integral part of the Spanish club’s success throughout the 2020/21 campaign.

The 22-year-old played 40 games for Villarreal last term, scoring four times and assisting a further eight.

This is not the first time Chukwueze has been linked with a Premier League move. Both Manchester United and Liverpool are said to be keen on the youngster.

Now The Athletic report that the blue side of Merseyside have also thrown their hat into the ring. Either way, it seems the in-demand wide man is likely to depart Unai Emery’s set-up this summer.

However, clubs may have to fork out a hefty price. Chukwueze has a whopping £71million release clause in his contract which doesn’t expire until 2023.

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La Razon, though, have mooted that Villarreal are unlikely to receive the full whack for their player.

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Bailey also on Benitez’s radar

With Everton lacking in wide-men depth, Benitez is not lumping all of his eggs into one basket.

The Athletic add that Everton have also taken an interest in Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey.

The Jamaican, 23, scored nine times and notched eight assists in the Bundesliga last season.

He could be a favourable alternative to Chukwueze if negotiations fail, having had experience in both the Europa League and Champions League.

Bailey has played 233 club games in his career too – 94 more than Chukwueze. Thus he would come with effectively around two more seasons of first team action under his belt.

He has played eight times for his country and scored once while Chukwueze has featured in 18 Nigeria internationals, scoring on three occasions.

Benitez will be itching to get more singers into the club with Theo Walcott joining Southampton permanently while Alex Iwobi and Bernard have not produced on a consistent basis.

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