Everton have reportedly identified Burnley winger Dwight McNeil as their top transfer target and are plotting to beat Aston Villa to his signing this summer.

According to an exclusive report from Football Insider, Everton are set to ramp up their efforts to capture the signing of Burnley youngster Dwight McNeil, who is also a transfer target for Premier League rivals Aston Villa.

McNeil has been with Burnley since 2014, having signed their youth setup from the Manchester United academy. The 21-year-old made his breakthrough in the Clarets’ first-team during the 2018/19 campaign and has since gone on to become a regular, racking up 107 appearances in which he has a tally of seven goals and 16 assists.

While the numbers are not entirely top-notch, the young Englishman has shown great potential and could thrive in a setup that plays with more attacking intent than Burnley do. And, McNeil’s promise with the Clarets has now attracted interest from fellow Premier League clubs Everton and Aston Villa.

Everton’s interest in McNeil makes a great deal of sense considering the current crop of players that Rafael Benitez at his disposal. The Toffees lost Theo Walcott and Bernard this summer while Alex Iwobi has flattered to deceive since his transfer from Arsenal. In addition, Richarlison continues to be linked with a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

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So, even though the Merseysiders have brought in Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray, adding another promising talent like McNeil would hold them in good stead. However, things might not be straightforward for Everton in pursuit of the 21-year-old England Under-21 international, with Aston Villa also chasing his signing.

The Villans have already strengthened their attacking unit with the signing of Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City, while Dean Smith also has Jack Grealish, Bertrand Traore, Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet as options for the wide attacking slots. However, the Midlands club are understood to be open to offers for El Ghazi and Trezeguet this summer, while Grealish continues to be linked with an exit.

Even if the Villa skipper does stay, adding another attacking option would help the club as they look to push for a European qualifying spot. To that end, McNeil has emerged as a viable transfer target for Aston Villa.

Everton, though, are intent on beating their rivals to the signing of the Burnley ace this summer. Furthermore, Villa are believed to be closing in on the capture of Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen, which could further clear the way for the Merseyside outfit to land the 21-year-old.

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