Demarai Gray has left Everton with a year left on his current deal, joining Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq for an unannounced transfer fee - reported to be between £8m-£10m.
The 27-year-old winger leaves the Blues having featured 75 times over two arduous relegation battles, scoring 12 times with 6 assists. Gray managed some momentous goals in that time, including a memorable winner late on against Arsenal as well as laying on the cross that allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score from a diving header to beat Crystal Palace and save the Blues from relegation in 2021/22.
We have sold Demarai Gray to Al-Ettifaq on a permanent transfer for an undisclosed fee.— Everton (@Everton) September 7, 2023
Gray came to the Blues for a pittance of a sum, costing only €2M from Bayer Leverkusen. Before that, he won the Premier League with Leicester City in that miraculous 2015/16 season.
However, his time at the club ends on something of a sour note after breakdown in his relationship with manager Sean Dyche.
Gray wrote on social media last weekend that he felt disrespected after a move failed to materialise after the Premier League transfer deadline. Just 24 hours earlier Dyche said the winger was to be reintegrated into the squad after missing all of pre-season and the club’s first five matches.
Dyche responded in a in-house club interviewing saying that Gray had refused to train over the summer because he had agreed a move, but insisted the Toffees would have the final say on any transfer.
The falling out made a move inevitable and Everton agreed a deal with Al-Ettifaq - managed by Steve Gerrard - ahead of the Saudi transfer deadline.
The terse three-line statement from the club announcing the transfer said it all.
In a further post on social media after the deal was confirmed, Gray said:
“After two years with Everton, it’s time to say goodbye.
“I wish everyone at the club the very best and will be forever proud to have played for this great team. To the fans, you were always incredible – thank you for your support. You made it a privilege to wear the shirt.
“There has been a lot of speculation about my situation all summer. The truth is, I gave my all to this club on and off the pitch through good and bad. I was ready to play as much football as possible this season but it felt like this was not going to happen.
“It’s time for my next chapter. I am match fit and excited to get playing. Thank you, Demarai.”
We wish Gray well in his future endeavours, and thank him for some of his crucial contributions in ensure we remain a Premier League team.