Everton have joined the clubs linked with a summer move for River Plate’s Nicolas De La Cruz if, as expected, he is available on a free transfer.
The 23-year-old joined River Plate from Uruguayan club Liverpool FC Montevideo in 2017. The midfielder has become a popular player, scoring 17 goals and providing 23 assists from 96 appearances.
He has scored three times from seven outings this term but looks set to exit in the summer. That’s according to Marca, who suggest he will allow his contract to run down and leave for free.
The Uruguay international has been watched by many of Europe’s top clubs in recent times. And he is certain to have plenty of suitors if his contract expires.
There is no sign of River Plate offering him fresh terms and it has now emerged why. Born in Montevideo, the youngster wants to see his previous club paid a debt they are owed by River.
He came through the Liverpool Montevideo youth ranks before playing for the senior team. And his loyalty to Los negros de la cuchilla may well prevent a new contract with the Argentine outfit.
Everything seemed on course for him to pen a fresh deal until he added some demands into the negotiations.
That debt is around $1m, with River yet to pay the final 70% of his rights – still owned by Liverpool. De La Cruz will not sign an extension until the debt is settled.
There is little prospect of that happening and so clubs will be ready to pounce in a few months’ time. Everton are not the only Premier League club keen, with Manchester City showing an interest.
The DR Congo international has not featured for the Toffees since the 2017-2018 campaign. He made 17 appearances in all competitions that season.
The winger has spent time on loan at Aston Villa, Anderlecht and Sporting over the past few seasons. He is now at the Riverside and Boro boss Neil Warnock was delighted.
“I’ve known Yannick for many years,” he said. “I asked him if he could help us out until the end of the season and get some fitness in at the same time.
“We can’t expect wonders but he’s a good lad and he can play different positions for me. He’ll be good in the dressing room and it’s a big boost for us.”
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