Everton are ready to make a bid for Lazio forward Joaquin Correa, according to reports in Italy – but a former player’s future could impact their hopes of signing him.
So far this summer, Everton have signed goalkeeper Asmir Begovic on a free transfer and wingers Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray for nothing and £1.7m respectively. As the beginning of the season approaches, it appears they are ready to make their first significant spend of the window.
Rafael Benitez has assessed his new squad and there are several areas to reinforce. Strengthening in attack is one of the main objectives, hence the double winger signing. Providing additional competition for centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be important too.
Joshua King failed to make much of an impact after his January move and has subsequently been released. Therefore, Everton need a more reliable option alongside Calvert-Lewin.
With that in mind, they are ready to press ahead with a bid for Correa, according to Il Messaggero. The Italian paper suggests they will offer €25m plus bonuses for the Lazio frontman.
There has been some confusion over Correa’s future at Lazio following their appointment of Maurizio Sarri. He was initially said to be up for sale, but was then thought to be willing to fight for his place before re-considering and asking for an exit.
If he does leave Lazio, the Premier League seems to be his likeliest destination. He has already been linked with Tottenham, Arsenal and West Ham.
But Everton were also mentioned in connection with the Argentina international at the beginning of June. Now, they could be about to intensify their pursuit.
Il Messaggero expect them to make a bid for Correa imminently. However, they also predict that Leicester City will make a similar offer.
So far, the Foxes have not appeared to be a main suitor for the Copa America winner. They have already signed Patson Daka to strengthen their attack, but could seek one more addition as they aim to make it third time lucky for Champions League qualification.
Everton seem to be the most advanced with their attempts to land Correa, though, so may speed up their pursuit.
Correa could be connected to Lukaku future
Another contender to sign Correa would be Inter Milan, in the event of Romelu Lukaku leaving.
Lukaku previously spent four successful seasons with Everton, scoring 87 goals from 166 games. He then moved to Manchester United and after two years there went abroad with Inter.
In Italy, he has silenced his doubters by becoming one of the best strikers in the world. Last season, he helped Inter to the Serie A title, but their financial difficulties mean it may be very short era of success.
They have already had to sell Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain and still need one more big sale. Lukaku is someone they want to keep, but they may get an offer they can’t refuse.
Another of Lukaku’s former clubs, Chelsea, are trying to re-sign him. Their confidence of doing so is growing, which is forcing Inter to make contingency plans.
According to Gianluca Di Marzio, they would be interested in Correa if Lukaku leaves. New Inter boss Simone Inzaghi moved from Lazio this summer and could try to tempt his former player to make the same switch.
Therefore, Everton should act fast if they want to get a deal for Correa over the line.