New Everton boss Ronald Koeman has only managed to get over the line with one signing, free Dutch goalie Maarten Stekelenburg, since taking over at Goodison Park three weeks ago, but a raft of reports indicate the capture of Belgium international Axel Witsel is imminent.
Having sold Witsel’s international midfield partner Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United for £27.5m three years ago, the newly-minted Toffees are tipped to land the similarly-coiffed Zenit St Petersburg man for a million more, with £120,000-per-week wages thought to be on the table.
With the marked increase in Premier League TV cash, and new top shareholder Farhad Moshiri (net worth $2bn) in situ, Witsel’s capture would surely be the first of many big-money signings as Koeman moulds his squad, meaning some underperformers will have to find pastures new.
Republic of Ireland regular James McCarthy surely has most to fear from the 27-year-old’s mooted arrival, which could be could be good news for long-time admirers Tottenham.
McCarthy, along with the vast majority of his Toffees teammates, did not cover himself in glory during Roberto Martinez’s dreadful last campaign on Merseyside – anchoring midfield for a team that finished with the joint-sixth highest goals-against record in the top flight is not a good look.
That being said, with men behind him such as John Stones, Ramiro Funes Mori and Joel Robles suffering a series of crises of confidence, the former Wigan man can hardly cop too much blame.
Spurs have picked up former Koeman anchorman Victor Wanyama from Southampton already this summer, but apart from Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele, neither of whom can be categorised as proven, top-class central midfielders, boss Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t have much more going on in the position.
The high-tempo Argentine’s prerogative is to build a deep squad capable of keeping up momentum throughout the campaign, so he’ll need another body or two in midfield. McCarthy fits the bill.