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Everton face battle in bid for promising young striker

The Almeria forward is being closely watched by the Blues as well as Atalanta


Everton have been linked with Almeria striker El Bilal Toure for some time this summer, but over the weekend those discussions appear to have gone to another level with the Blues confirming their second signing, Arnaut Danjuma.

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano and Everton insider Alan Myers indicated that the Toffees are still very interested in the Mali international with flamboyant Serie A side Atalanta maintaining their own enthusiasm in the player, and that the battle between the two sides will go down to the wire.

There have been no indications from the player’s camp about a preference, or even whether any personal terms have been discussed or agreed upon, and the same goes with the Spanish side.

The 21-year-old was a big hit for Stade Reims in Ligue 1 picking up 9 goals and 5 assists for the French side in two seasons before switching to Almeria last season. He made an instant impact in La Liga, bagging seven goals and two assists in just 22 appearances.

The forward’s incredible acceleration and physical prowess will be well-suited for the Premier League which tends to be a lot more challenging physically than continental leagues. He’s no slouch in the air either which portends well for the Blues who rely heavily in pumping balls into the box. What is surprising with Toure though is his deft touch in the box, as some of his finishing in the video above will show.

What will really excite Sean Dyche though is the Malian’s workrate in the opposing half of the pitch. Toure does a lot of work when the opponent has the ball, counter-pressing successfully and creating chances for himself and his teammates after winning the ball. He averages 3.36 recoveries per 90 minutes, making eight dangerous recoveries leading to a shot, 16 high regains and another 13 counter-pressing recoveries.

Ball recovery data for Toure, as of late March ‘23
Total Football Analysis

It all seems good, so what’s the problem, you’ll be asking. Where things get dicey though is with Everton’s finances. The player’s €40 million (£34m) release clause has now expired, and the Blues have apparently proposed both a loan deal for the first year with a mandatory purchase clause and the payments to be made over four instalments after that, or a straight purchase with payments in instalments, with no more than €10 million for the first payment.

Everton’s competition Atalanta can pay upfront for the player, especially if the proposed sale of star-in-the-making Rasmus Hojlund to Manchester United goes through. Recent rumours seem to indicate that Paris St Germain are also interested in the player especially with Kylian Mbappe now likely to follow Karim Benzema out the door at PSG.

When you’re Everton with little money to splurge and three bottom half finishes in the last four years, then you are at the mercy of the bigger sides to complete their transfer activities before you can get involved, and that is the case with another massive domino yet to fall - Harry Kane.

It’s expected that the England striker will leave Tottenham Hotspur with just one year left on his contract, but will it be Real Madrid or United that makes the move for him? If the Red Devils do grab him, then they will have no need for Hojlund. La Dea are indicating they want Toure whether the Dane leaves or not, so there is another angle yet to be resolved in this equation.

The Mali international has 5 goals in 15 international appearances and would be the perfect foil for Calvert-Lewin. It’ll be difficult for the Blues to find a forward possessing both power and pace in their price range, and in Toure have a player who has all the tools to be successful in the Premier League.

Myers has also indicated that there could yet be more signings for the Toffees if they can grab Toure, but you get the feeling the 21-year-old could be the pivotal signing of the summer for Everton’s future.