Everton have confirmed the signing of young midfielder Amadou Onana from LOSC Lille in France’s Ligue 1.
The highly-touted 20-year-old can play anywhere in central midfield with his ball-carrying abilities, but is best-suited for the defensive midfield role that the Blues have had a gaping hole at for a few years now.
The Toffees and West Ham United had gone toe-to-toe for the player with both Premier League sides meeting Lille’s valuation of the player. However it was reported that Onana preferred to join the Blues as they offered a better wage structure and possibly playing opportunities even though the London side are in European competition this year.
Tick. Tock.— Everton (@Everton) August 9, 2022
It's Onana time! ⏰ pic.twitter.com/3eWopMRHlb
While the transfer fee has not been confirmed officially, Belgian sources seem to indicate it is for €36 million (£30.4m) with €4m (£3.4m) in add-ons, and Lille getting 20% on any future resale.
Born in Senegal, the player grew up in Belgium before moving to Hoffenheim’s youth system in Germany. He moved to Hamburger in the summer of 2020 where he caught the eye with his performances for the 2. Bundesliga side before transferring to LOSC last summer for €6 million and signing a five-year deal.
He made his debut for the Belgium national side under Roberto Martinez earlier this summer, and the former Everton manager raved about his new star. He becomes the first Belgian to represent the Blues since the departure of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas.
Speaking at his signing, Onana said -
“It feels great to join Everton. I know it’s a big, big club, one of the biggest in England. It’s something I want to be part of for many years.
“Everyone here showed they really wanted me and they have a plan for me, so I really appreciated the talks I had with the manager and Director of Football [Kevin Thelwell]. They told me how they wanted me to play and I enjoyed it.
“They both have a lot of ambition and that’s the type of guy I am so it matches. The manager was one of the big reasons. He played at the highest level, won many things and was a midfielder, too. It means a lot to have interest from him and I think he can teach me many things.
“The Everton fans are amazing. I saw their support last season and it’s also one of the reasons why I chose Everton. I am looking forward to meeting them at Goodison and, just hearing about the atmosphere, I get goosebumps.
“Blue is my favourite colour, too! I am going to give everything for the Club and our supporters.”
Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, said -
“We are delighted to complete the signing of Amadou and for him to commit his long-term future to Everton.
“He is one of the most sought-after young midfielders in Europe for a reason and has many attributes to benefit our squad. We are confident he can be a popular player with Evertonians for many years to come.”
Toffees manager Frank Lampard added -
“I spoke to him about why Everton was the right club for him and we’re all looking forward to him showing what he can bring to the team.”
With this move and the former Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye also close to a return it does look like the Blues have addressed the gaps in the middle for now, which leaves the striker position still to be taken care of. Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be out for at least six weeks and the only recognized back-up for him is veteran Salomon Rondon. Youngsters Ellis Simms and Lewis Dobbin have both been sent out on loan, which leaves only Dele Alli in the squad with any experience of playing at the position.
The Blues continue to be linked with moves for Chelsea pair Armando Broja and Billy Gilmour while in recent days they confirmed the signing of Wolves captain Conor Coady as well.