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Everton approach for Spanish striker reportedly denied

Toffees said to have met the player’s release clause

Getafe CF v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Marco Silva’s continued limited use of Cenk Tosun has spawned repeated rumors that Everton is hoping to secure a new striker before the end of January. Recent reports indicate the Toffees may have found the man they want — but have failed to convince him to make a move.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca (translation courtesy of Sport Witness), Everton have met the €28 million (£25 million; $32 million) release clause for RCD Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias, but the Spanish striker has declined a move to Goodison Park. The reports indicate that Iglesias, who signed a four-year contract with Espanyol over the summer, is not looking to leave the club this month.

Iglesias, 25, has nine goals and two assists in 18 league appearances for the Spanish club this season — and is something of a strange case.

Though well into what is generally thought of as the prime of a footballer’s career, Iglesias is in the midst of only his first ever top-flight season. Borja graduated from the Villareal academy and moved into their C-team (Spanish fourth-tier) in 2012.

Since then, he was a prolific goalscorer for Celta Vigo’s B-team (Spanish third-tier) and Zarazoga (Spanish second-tier) — putting up 70 goals in 131 matches for the former, and 23 goals in 43 matches for the latter.

Yet, he only got his first-tier break ahead of this season when he signed for Espanyol, where he immediately became the club’s first-choice striker. The club has only scored 19 goals in 19 league matches, so Iglesias’ nine goals and two assists account for more than half of the team’s overall goal output.

Iglesias turns 26 later this week, so he’s by no means a prospect at this stage of his career, despite only having 19 top-division matches to his name. He’d be a high-risk, high-reward prospect for Everton if Marcel Brands and Farhad Moshiri could convince him to join.

If Iglesias could maintain his goal-every-other-game pace in the Premier League, the player’s €28 million release clause would represent an enormous bargain in today’s transfer market.

Everton v Valencia - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

But it’s hard to look at Iglesias’ resume and not think of Sandro Ramirez, who came to Everton with a similar pedigree — one strong season in La Liga and a solid record in youth / lower-level setups (though Borja’s lower-tier record is definitely better than Sandro’s was).

Given that the player seems to have initially rebuffed Everton’s approaches, you’d suspect that the only recourse Everton have is to offer the player a bigger contract — like the one offered to Sandro that Marcel Brands cannot seem to rid himself of now.

Brands and co. likely deserve a bit of trust based on their early transfer record, but it’s hard not to see this move as a risky one if the Toffees are able to convince Iglesias to come to England.