Everton are very close to sealing their fourth incoming transfer of the summer transfer window, with midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye close to returning three season after leaving the Blues for Paris Saint Germain.
The Senegalese international, who turns 33 next month, had one year left on his contract with the French champions. While initial talks had focused on his return to the Blues on loan and PSG wanting that Everton cover the whole of his current wages of £95,000 per week, that changed into a permanent transfer with a new short term deal. The player's representation were asking for a three-year deal while the Blues had a preference for a two-year contract given the players age.
Key sources with knowledge of the transfer details had reported over the weekend that there was a desire for the tough-tackling but soft-spoken player to return to Merseyside where he remains fondly remembered by Blues, and that the clubs were getting closer and closer to an agreement.
This afternoon both El Bobble and Fabrizio Romano reported that a deal was close to done, though the Italian journalist seemed to indicate that the player had already arrived in the United Kingdom for his medical.
Gueye had racked up 107 appearances in his earlier stint with Everton over three seasons, scoring 4 times with 5 assists, but also leading the club in most defensive metrics during that phase as well in his role as a midfield destroyer.
Everton players with the most successful tackles, recoveries (outfield players only), interceptions, fouls committed, fouls won and highest pass accuracy (minimum 1,000 attempted passes) by season in the Premier League since 2016/17. #EFC pic.twitter.com/08yvE9c8g1— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) August 1, 2022
Kevin Thelwell and Frank Lampard's search for a proper defensive midfielder this summer has been well documented, considering how pivotal it could be with regards to how the Blues perform this season. Everton have been hamstrung by that deficiency and it has forced Lampard to switch to a three-man backline to beef up the defence.
That said, Gana is not the tailor-made fix for that gap either. While he did well during his previous time with the Blues, most of that happened when he had another stay-at-home defensive midfielder next to him which allowed him to foray into the opponent's half hunting the ball. Much like Allan, he was prone to wandering off from his position shielding the backline chasing the ball which then saw them exposed on quick turnovers and counters.
Still, given the return of Donny van de Beek, the departure of Fabian Delph, and possibly even Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, adding warm bodies to the midfield has now become one of the pressing priorities to issue before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.