Everton are still in contention to sign Burnley starlet Dwight McNeil, despite a failed move in the summer.
According to the reports in LiverpoolEcho, The Toffees are keeping a close eye on Dwight McNeil’s progress this campaign before evaluating whether to rekindle their pursuit in the youngster next summer as manager Rafa Benitez look to add more quality in wide areas.
The 21-year-old English forward was on the club’s radar earlier this summer and has been a prime target for the Everton boss who is a big admirer of Englishman’s talents. But Burnley being adamant about not losing one of their key players and Everton bound by financial fair play regulations meant that no deal could be struck.
Burnley picked up McNeil from Man United youth as a 14-year-old back in 2014, rising quickly through the clubs’ youth ranks; he broke into the first-team squad four years later, making his debut in the Clarets’ final game of the 2017/18 season.
Since then, McNeil has improved leaps and bounds, clocking up 111 competitive appearances for the club, registering seven goals and assisting on 16 occasions. While his goal tally might not be impressive enough for a forward, it’s his creative output he’s known for. The England U-21 international is regarded as one of the most promising young English wingers in the top flight.
Sean Dyche’s men are heavily reliant on McNeil’s crossing and set-piece ability combined with Chris Wood’s aerial prowess that would be crucial to securing Burnley’s Premier League survival. So predictably. the Clarets would demand a huge bid for their key asset, with a gigantic figure of near about £50 million is doing the rounds.
McNeil’s contract at Turf Moor runs until June 2024; said to be netting around £40-45k-per-week, and he is thought to be pleased with his progress at Burnley, where he plays nearly all of the games.
McNeil, much like Gray and Townsend, is a player Benitez has been tracking for some time and believes could have slotted in well with his Everton team. The Spanish tactician is also drawn to McNeil’s crossing technique and work rate. Last campaign, the youngster delivered 242 crosses- the fourth-best in the top flight.
Everton’s backup wingers in Alex Iwobi and Bernard have failed to impress the new head coach and face an uncertain future at Goodison Park. It has prompted Benitez to bolster his ranks with quality attacking options, and McNeil, at 21, certainly fits the profile.
He has the work ethic, technique and desire to learn. He has a lot of experience at a tender age, and the proposition of continuing his development under a tactical brain like Rafa Benitez may help the Evertonian’s to tempt the player for a move to Goodison.
What now remains to be seen is whether or not Everton would revive their interest to sign McNeil next summer. It must be stressed that the 21-year-old is not their only option, with the club recently being linked with a swoop for Daniel Jebbison.