Everton look set to complete a deal to sign young Barcelona right-winger Gerard Deulofeu for a fee of around £3m.
Everton fans should hold fond memories of Deulofeu, who completed a short loan deal with the club in 2013/14 making 11 starts and scoring 4 goals, including a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates.
A deal was in the pipeline for a permanent transfer to Everton at the start of last season. But a decision was made by the Catalan club to loan him out for another year, on this occasion to fellow La Liga club Sevilla in a disappointing campaign. He found limited opportunities in the first team under manager Unai Emery, and found himself as part of the Marca (Spanish Newspaper) ‘Worst team of the season’
Despite this, Everton will feel they’ve secured a bargain, for a player still only 21 years of age and rated so very highly.
Deulofeu is a product of the Barcelona youth set-up. He has, however, only made 2 appearances for their first team since 2011, the majority of his starts coming for Barcelona B in Segunda División B, where he’s made over 60 appearances.
Despite the supposedly unsuccessful season at Sevilla, Martinez will have completed a shrewd piece of business with this transfer, as he may now not have to pay well over the odds for last season’s loanee Aaron Lennon.
The deal is reported to be for 3 seasons with an option of one further season. It’s also supposed to include a buy-back clause for Barcelona.
This will be Everton’s second signing of the summer, after the arrival of Tom Cleverley from Manchester United earlier in the month.
Writer’s View: Despite his poor campaign last year, this is an excellent bit of business for Everton. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is notorious for massively over-pricing his players and I can confidently predict that Aaron Lennon would have cost more than double what Deulofeu has.
Ideally Martinez would want both players in his squad, but would either player be happy playing second fiddle to the other? Probably not.