Chelsea are continuing to stall on Monaco’s loan deal for Michy Batshuayi in the hope Everton make a permanent move for the Belgian striker - but any deal looks unlikely at present.
Batshuayi has cut his season-long loan spell at Valencia short after a difficult six months in La Liga. The 25-year-old doesn’t look to have a long-term future at Stamford Bridge either, with the London club keen to offload him this month.
Monaco have reportedly agreed terms with the player over a loan until the summer, but the Liverpool Echo report that Chelsea are refusing to rubber-stamp the move in the hope a permanent £40million deal can be agreed elsewhere, with the Toffees among those linked with the former Marseille forward.
Everton’s chronic lack of firepower is well known and has contributed to their patchy season so far.
But while we would all like to see the club invest in some new strikers this window, Marcel Brands still has a bloated squad consisting over below-par but over-paid players he needs to get off the books.
As a result the Dutchman cannot sanction any more big money deals without some signifiant departures, even if their interest in Batshuayi is genuine.
Oumar Niasse has already left on loan for Cardiff but a permanent deal is only likely to proceed if the Bluebirds avoid relegation, still an uncertain prospect at this stage.
Then there are the likes of Sandro Ramirez, Mo Besic, Cuco Martina, Kevin Mirallas and Luke Garbutt - all players out on loan but still on lengthy contracts and decent wages who are set to return in the summer. Brands and Marco Silva have also made Cenk Tosun available for around £20m just 12 months after joining the club.
Until one or more of those players move on, Brands, quite understandably, is not going to sanction another signing that will further inflate the already bloated wage bill.
Everton are currently paying the price for a litany of transfer mistakes and a rapid changeover in managers over the past two-and-a-half years. It’s going to take more than one window to sort out the mess so as fans we just have to be patient and accept this season (once again) is a transitional year that is likely to experience some difficult moments.
Batshuayi stats - Valencia loan aside - do stack up and I reckon there is a place for him in this Everton side. But £40million is a huge fee given Everton’s already significant spending over the past two years.
If someone like Tosun does leave then a deal would become much more realistic. But for now we have to accept that the club are going to play the long game in the transfer market, even if that results in short-term pain on the pitch over the next few months.