Everton head into the 2019/20 campaign without the addition of a top-quality striker and it could be their downfall for ambitions of a top-seven finish, and the Toffees should do everything they can to sign Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha.
The 26-year-old had been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal but they are set to land highly-rated European talent Nicolas Pepe from Ligue 1 side Lille, which paved the way for Everton to launch a £52million bid for the Ivory Coast international, according to Sky Sports.
However, that bid was turned down and Sky Sports reported that Everton made a second bid for Zaha – this time adding Cenk Tosun and James McCarthy to the original £55m bid – but the club made an official statement and denied that claim.
The club statement read: “Everton Football Club categorically denies that a bid has been submitted to Crystal Palace for Wilfried Zaha that included an increased sum plus Cenk Tosun.
“A bid was made over the weekend which was turned down. Both clubs agreed that was the end of the matter.”
If the club are serious and have concluded negotiations, this would be a seriously-missed opportunity. Zaha has the flexibility and versatility to operate as a striker or wide player, as does Brazil international Richarlison, and the unpredictability Everton would have possessed going forwards was a frightening prospect.
Zaha endured a very successful 2018/19 Premier League campaign – netting 10 goals and chipping in with five assists in 34 league appearances. Looking deeper into his statistics is where he impresses, though. The 26-year-old completed 3.4 dribbles (on average) per match last season while completing 1.6 key passes each game.
His work-rate coupled with his ability to produce magical moments on the pitch would be a perfect fit under Marco Silva and was the final piece to the top-seven puzzle.
Wilfried Zaha – Major pic.twitter.com/B4IPy6DSL1
— MÖ (@Mozorla19) July 23, 2019
As previously mentioned, Richarlison is versatile himself and would be a successful operator as a centre-forward at Goodison Park with the likes of Zaha, Bernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson making up the rest of the attack.
Despite their interest in Zaha, Everton are reportedly close to signing sought-after striker Moise Kean from Juventus and the 19-year-old is due for a medical tomorrow.
Moise Kean to Everton, here we go! Total agreement reached with Juventus, last details will be completed on next hours. The striker will fly to UK tomorrow to undergo his medicals and sign the contract. ???? #transfers #Everton #Juve
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 30, 2019
This would be a solid signing but is a huge risk for a young player who is yet to prove himself. Zaha was the ideal option to bolster Everton’s chances of achieving a top-seven finish and the potential signing of Kean could go either way.