Everton have confirmed the signing of former England U21 winger Dwight McNeil from Burnley.
The 22-year-old has signed a five-year contract to become Everton’s third signing of the summer and second from Burnley after defender James Tarkowski.
The fee is undisclosed but is rumoured to be in the region of £15 million plus add-ons, up to about £20m. That is considerably less than the £30m McNeil was valued at 12 months ago when Everton were first linked with the winger. However, a poor season for the player followed by Burnley’s relegation has weakened their negotiating hand, with the Clarets needing to raise funds to make up for the drop in revenue in the Championship.
The winger made nearly 150 appearances for the Clarets after graduating from their academy in 2018 and also earned 10 caps for England U21s.
Speaking about his move, McNeil said -
“It is an amazing feeling to sign. When I heard about Everton’s interest I wanted to get it done straight away because of the Club and how good the team is.
“Speaking to the manager about what they want going forward, it really excited me and appealed to me. I wanted to be part of it. He knows me as a player, as does [Director of Football] Kevin Thelwell. I want to work hard and do well for the team and for the fans.
“I feel playing under a manager like Frank Lampard, he will help me to get my stats up – and that is what I want to do and improve my game.
“I am a direct runner with the ball. I like to get on the ball, cut inside and create chances for the team.
“I want to help the team as best as I can, work hard and do the defensive side of the game, too.”
Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, said -
“We are delighted to secure the signing of Dwight on a five-year contract.
“Despite being only 22, he has plenty of Premier League experience and the statistics prove we have brought in one of the best young talents in English football.
“We are confident that, working with Frank and his coaching staff, Dwight can become even better and enjoy a long, successful career with Everton.”
Toffees manager Frank Lampard added -
“I have been a big admirer of Dwight for some time. He has huge talent and is exactly the type of player we want to bring into the squad to help us improve.”
Dwight McNeil provided just 1 assist in 38 appearances in the Premier League last season. Although, he created 47 chances, more than any other #EFC player and placing him among the top 25 chance creators in the league.— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) July 27, 2022
McNeill only scored seven times for Burnley so he is not being brought for his goals (though he still managed to score a worldie against us) - but his delivery from wide areas is a useful addition to Everton’s armoury.
He has a wicked left foot so could get deliveries in from out wide on the left or by cutting inside on the opposite flank, where he played a handful of times for the Clarets. Plus at 22 he fits the model of player Everton should be mainly targeting - young, hungry and with the potential to improve.
His single assist last season looks concerning on the surface, but remember that was in a Burnley side that scored just 34 goals in 38 games. Over the last four years he has consistently been in or above 0.2 xG+xA/90, which puts him just under Anthony Gordon’s numbers for last season.
And as EFC Statto pointed out in the tweet above he created 47 chances for his team-mates, more than any single Everton player. With a fully fit Dominic Calvert-Lewin lurking in the box you can see the thinking behind the move as Lampard and Kevin Thelwell look to add some creativity to the side that also struggled for goals last season.