Everton reportedly lead West Ham in the race to sign Jesse Lingard in the January transfer window, if Manchester United agree to let the player leave.
The 28-year-old England star has so far rejected all attempts by the club to get him to pen a new Old Trafford deal. That is largely due to the fact that Lingard wants more guarantees of regular game time – something that has not yet come to fruition this term.
Lingard enjoyed an impressive loan spell at the London Stadium last season, scoring a number of goals as the Hammers qualified for the Europa League.
However, Football Insider claims that the Toffees have a significant advantage over any potential January deal. The reason given is that Lingard would prefer to remain in the north-west.
Rafa Benitez is keen to get Lingard on board to give his side more creativity and goals from midfield.
However, the report adds that Financial Fair Play restrictions mean the Merseysiders would only be able to sign the England international permanently if they generate cash through player sales.
The likelihood is that Everton will try a loan or a loan-to-buy to get their man. To that end, they could turn it into a permanent switch at the end of the season.
Lingard’s current Red Devils expires next summer. But after hoping to be more involved at the start of this season, the attacking midfielder has come to the realisation that he will have to leave.
So far this campaign he has played 146 minutes across all competitions, scoring twice – including a stunning strike against the Hammers.
But the player is desperate to remain in Gareth Southgate’s plans for the World Cup in 2022 and knows he has to be playing regularly for that to be the case.
Rafa wants to sign former Arsenal hitman
Meanwhile, Everton boss Rafa Benitez is eyeing a ‘sensational’ move for a former Arsenal attacker, according to reports in Italy.
The Spaniard’s transfer strategy has been exceptional since he took over at Goodison Park in late June. He was influential to the capture of Andros Townsend on a free transfer.
The 30-year-old has managed five goals and three assists in his first ten matches. A couple of those goals have been wonder strikes, too, such as the one against Burnley on September 13.
Benitez helped to bring in Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for just £1.6million. The winger seems to have a new lease of life on Merseyside and is a constant threat on the counter attack.
Salomon Rondon also joined Everton during the summer. He is a Benitez favourite from their time together at Newcastle United. The striker is yet to score but looks set for an important few weeks deputising for the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison up front.
The success of Benitez’s signings could see him given more trust by the Everton board of directors. It has now been reported that the manager is plotting a huge raid on Inter Milan.
Benitez needs more attacking options
Italian outlet Inter Live (via HITC) state that he wants to sign former Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez. Attacking reinforcements are needed as Gylfi Sigurdsson will leave next year and Richarlison continues to attract interest from Paris Saint-Germain.
Sanchez could be available for a cut-price fee as he is unwanted at the San Siro. The Chilean has featured just three times in Serie A so far this campaign and is yet to complete a full 90 minutes.
The forward’s struggles at Inter and Man Utd previously have been well documented. However, he is a proven Premier League goalscorer from his time at Arsenal.
Sanchez was one of the Gunners’ most influential players between 2014 and 2018. Despite his history in England, Inter Live deem the potential move to be ‘absurd’.
They also state that an intriguing swap deal could be struck involving Cenk Tosun. The Turk has struggled to make an impact at Everton since joining back in January 2018.