We’ve all known about Everton’s interest in Burnley defender Michael Keane for some time now, with the Blues tipped to be leading the clubs lining up for his signature. But now it appears that the Toffees are looking to raid the Clarets for another one of their star performers, this time on the other end of the pitch, striker Andre Gray.
Gray won the 2015-16 Championship Player of the Year after his 25 goals propelled Burnley to the Sky Bet Championship that sealed their return to the Premier League after just one season. In 36 appearances for the Clarets last season, the forward picked up 10 goals and 3 assists playing as their primary striker.
While considered a strong finisher and decent dribbler, his lack of awareness of the offside line and inability to hold on to the ball are glaring weaknesses in his game.
Everton are close to signing Sandro Ramirez from Malaga as they prepare for the inevitable departure of Romelu Lukaku, and will be looking to replace his 26 goals with a bevy of strikers if needed. Veteran Arouna Kone is also out and there appears to be no place for Oumar Niasse in Ronald Koeman’s plans, so the Blues only have England youth internationals Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman as the recognized forwards in the squad.
Recent reports indicate that Burnley are interested in midfielder James McCarthy and Niasse as well, so it does seem like some sort of blockbuster, four-player exchange deal with Everton throwing in a chunk of cash to sweeten the pot could be worked out between the two sides.
Despite Koeman’s fondness for the midfielder, McCarthy has proven to be a headache with his persistent injury issues and with the arrival of Davy Klaassen and the recuperation of Muhamed Besic, the Irishman might be surplus to requirements at USM Finch Farm going forward.
Niasse for his part did decently enough for Hull City in their failed bid for Premier League survival, but after his treatment at Everton and the manner of his departure on loan, it’s unlikely he’ll want to play for the Blues again.
The addition of Keane (24) and Gray (soon to be 26) will have the net effect of continuing to reduce the average age of the Everton squad that shed some older players over the last season.