A report has revealed that there were plans to swap an Everton playmaker for AC Milan forward Rafael Leao in the summer.
Leao is a Portugal U21 international who managed six league goals in 2020-21. He has already got off the mark in Serie A this term, scoring in a 4-1 victory over Cagliari on August 29.
Multiple sources tipped Everton for a big-money offer, but they were put off by AC Milan’s €50million (£42.7m) asking price.
As a result, Leao’s agent Jorge Mendes attempted to negotiate a swap deal involving another one of his clients, James Rodriguez.
That’s according to Sport Witness, who write that no agreement could be reached between the two clubs.
Both sides thought their player was more valuable than the other, a common factor in the failure of swap transfers.
Sport Witness also refer to Italian outlet Calciomercato, who provide a report on Everton’s pursuit of Leao.
They claim Everton were one of four clubs to register their interest in the 22-year-old. They wanted to be kept up to date on the forward’s situation and whether he would be available for transfer before August 31.
The Toffees requested information directly from Mendes, as well as Milan chiefs Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara.
However, it’s unclear whether the Merseyside outfit would have been able to afford Leao.
Financial fair play (FFP) restrictions meant they had rely on cheap players in the summer. The only money they spent was on English winger Demarai Gray. He joined from Bayer Leverkusen for £1.6m.
Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic joined on free transfers, as did Rafa Benitez favourite Salomon Rondon.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, looks set for a tough season on Everton’s bench. He does not fit into Benitez’s favoured 4-4-2 formation and is yet to play in the Premier League this season.
It’s unclear whether the Colombia playmaker will feature against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Pundit compares Everton star to Pogba
Former midfielder Owen Hargreaves has admitted Abdoulaye Doucoure reminds him of Paul Pogba.
Doucoure registered two assists in Monday’s 3-1 win over Burnley. After the game, Hargreaves told Premier League Productions: “He’s got so much potential. Obviously defensively he’s very good, but I think box-to-box he’s very good.
“I don’t want to cause a controversy here, but he’s a bit Pogba-lite.
“He can pass it, he can link it, he scored a goal which was disallowed. I think he’s something really unique and different in that side. When he plays like that, he’s unplayable.”