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Niang’s Everton transfer on hold as player keeps his options open

The Milan attacker is hoping a club “bigger” than Everton will come calling.

Watford v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

If a report from Italy’s Calciomercato is to be believed, Everton’s move for M’Baye Niang is only on hold because the player is holding out hope for a “bigger” club to add his services.

According to the report, AC Milan are happy to sell the 22-year-old attacker, whom they believe they have given more than enough chances to prove himself. Milan and the Toffees have agreed to a €15 million (£13.2 million, $16.8 million) deal for the Frenchman, but Niang is not yet willing to sign on with the club.

The report suggests that Niang is most interested in attracting Arsenal’s attention, though it seems other clubs might strike his fancy as well. It remains unclear how long the Toffees will be willing to wait for the Frenchman’s signature, and how long Niang will be willing to wait before committing himself to Everton.

The whole saga reflects poorly on the player, whose attitude has already come into question multiple times in his young career. Niang wasn’t good enough last season to regularly stay in a Milan side that finished 6th in Serie A — the Italian club loaned him out to 17th-placed Watford, where he put up two goals and two assists in 16 appearances.

The idea that he’d draw enough interest from a club with more talent than Everton, and consistently get playing time there, is misguided to say the least. The Toffees offer Niang a tremendous opportunity — a chance to play at a club with a talented midfield, but in need of help up front in the wake of Romelu Lukaku’s imminent departure, guaranteeing him the chance to play regularly.

If the French attacker cannot see that opportunity in front of him, and is willing to jerk Everton around in the process, Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh might want to reconsider this move.