Everton are reportedly on the verge of completing a shock swoop for 25-year-old English attacker Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen this week.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Everton are closing in on the capture of Demarai Gray. It appears the Premier League outfit has triggered the English attacker’s release clause, worth around €2 million and has even agreed personal terms. The Leverkusen star is expected to sign a three-year contract until 2024.
Gray is likely to become Rafael Benitez’s first signing after being appointed as the Everton manager. However, in his tweet, Romano also mentioned the possible arrival of Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic, who was being courted as a potential number two for Jordan Pickford next season.
Formerly of Leicester City, Demarai Gray joined Bayer Leverkusen in January for just €2 million. The 25-year-old enjoyed a dream start to his career in Germany, being involved in three goals in his first three matches. But it was followed by a series of disappointing performances, with the English winger clearly struggling to settle into the Bundesliga.
During the final stretch of the campaign, Gray was not even considered as a viable option by Hannes Wolf. Although Leverkusen have since replaced him with new coach Gerardo Seoane, Everton’s decision to activate the €2 million release clause has left Die Werkself helpless.
Gray’s potential arrival at Goodison Park is hardly surprising as Everton do require reinforcements in the attacking department. Their star player Richarlison is facing an uncertain future at the club, with Real Madrid among clubs interested in his services.
Even James Rodriguez has become a potential target for Los Blancos, as the Colombian international shares an excellent relationship with Carlo Ancelotti, the former Everton boss. Although Gray is not a direct replacement for either of these players, his presence in the side should give Rafa Benitez some much-needed depth going forward.
On the flip side, the Toffees are said to be closing in on another attacker in Townsend. The Crystal Palace star is expected to join Everton on a free transfer, although the Merseyside club have also been linked with Allan Saint-Maximin.
As for Gray, the former Leicester City winger has never really managed to shine in the Premier League or the Bundesliga, so it will be interesting to see whether the 25-year-old can turn his fortunes around at Everton under the leadership of Benitez next season.