Everton look to be fighting a losing battle in their quest to keep Anthony Gordon with multiple reports suggesting the young winger is keen on a move to Chelsea FC.
The Blues have had a £40m bid rejected by the Toffees, who do not want to sell the 21-year-old academy product. But it appears their hand may be forced as Gordon is reportedly tempted by a move to Stamford Bridge.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Toffees have rejected a second bid as well, this time for £45m (Telegraph), and word has it that Chelsea will come back with a third bid even as they prepare to splash the cash on a couple of other positions as well and could well include some players in that offer.
Several newspaper reports including the Mail and Mirror claim Gordon is understandably attracted by the prospect of playing Champions League football and the extra exposure he will get in a World Cup year, as well as the lucrative wages Thomas Tuchel’s side will be able to offer.
A new Everton contract has apparently been on the table for several weeks but Gordon has no intention of signing it, which immediately puts the Toffees in a tricky position. The youngster has two years remaining on his current deal so now is the best time to sell him before his value begins to tumble.
Everton value Gordon at £50m — having turned down offers from Tottenham and Newcastle already — and it now seems highly likely that they will let him leave should Chelsea return, as expected, with a bid of around that figure.
Of course, the cynics among you may be thinking that Everton are briefing journalists about Gordon’s apparent desire to leave so they can hold their hands up and say they had no choice but to sell him, directing the fans’ frustration at the sale of another home-grown starlet towards the player and away from the club.
On the other hand, it is equally plausible that Gordon has heard of Chelsea’s interest and wants to grab the opportunity while he can. You can hardly blame him.
Either way it feels like the wheels are being set in motion and a transfer is not only going to happen but is probably more advanced than we realise.
If that is the case then Everton will only be spared the wrath of a frustrated fanbase if they make use of the proceeds - and quick. The team is still woefully short of quality in key areas, particularly in forward positions, and at least some of those gaps simply have to be plugged by the time Nottingham Forest arrive at Goodison on Saturday.
The Toffees are reportedly keen on Chelsea trio Armando Broja, Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour, either permanently or on loan. All three would improve the squad and must be part of any conversation with the Londoners, though I think at least one more forward is needed on top of that.
A decision also needs to be made about whether to keep waiting for Idrissa Gueye, whose return to Merseyside is apparently being held up by a dispute over money owed to him by PSG. If they do move on then an alternative target needs to be found quickly.
Everton are continuing to pay the price for their woeful transfer policy in recent years and the potential sale of one of their brightest young talents just the latest punishment.
But if they can bring in around £50m for Gordon, that combined with the £60m sale of Richarlison should finally end their financial battle with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.
All we can do then is put our trust in Frank Lampard and Kevin Thelwell to reinvest wisely and ensure the team actually emerges from this saga in a relatively stable position.