Everton are poised to to announce the marquee signing of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez. The Colombian is set to sign for the Premier League club with more new faces expected at Goodison Park under Carlo Ancelotti this summer.
The 29-year-old is set to put pen to paper on a three-year deal as he reunites with Ancelotti to spearhead a new-look midfield on Merseyside, with the duo having worked together at both Madrid and Bayern Munich.
James is understood to have taken a significant pay cut to sign for the Toffees and his relationship with Ancelotti is believed to have been a key factor in a deal being struck for the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner.
The deal represents a huge coup for Everton as the Toffees try to bring a creative dynamism to their midfield ahead of the new season. European football will be their target and they are 6/1 for a top six finish.
Real Madrid were believed to be demanding a fee in excess of £20million for the Colombian international, despite only having 10 months remaining on his contract at the Bernabeu.
Rodriguez’s signature is one that Everton fans can certainly be excited about and the Everton chequebook is not set to close just yet with more signings expected in the coming days.
Allan next in the door?
The Blues are also on the verge of finalising a deal for Napoli midfielder Allan. The combative 29-year-old is set to arrive from the Serie A club in a £22 million move.
Allan is another player who worked alongside Ancelotti when he was in charge of the Italian giants, and he looks set for a medical on Merseyside with an announcement from the club imminent alongside Rodriguez in a double swoop.
Doucoure to complete new-look midfield
Everton are also locked in talks to sign Abdoulaye Doucoure from relegated Watford, but both clubs reportedly remain apart in their valuation of the midfielder.
The Blues are long-term admirers of the midfielder and had a £36.7 million bid for Doucoure rejected last summer.
However, following the Hornets relegation from the Premier League Everton are confident to wrap up a deal for the 27-year-old for a lower price than what they put on the table last summer.
Doucoure allegedly wants to leave Vicarage Road but still has three years remaining on the contract with the Hornets ready to play hardball to keep the star player on their books.
He is the proven box-to-box midfielder that Blues fans crave but they may need to move fast with both Wolves and Fulham rumoured to be interested in his services.
How could Everton set-up next season
Ancelotti has been known as a tactically flexible coach which has seen him possess a managerial CV that boasts Champions League titles as well as winning all but one of Europe’s top five major leagues.
The Italian boss began his Everton tenure with a familiar 4-4-2 formation but ended last season with a 3-5-2 system with operating wingbacks.
The biggest issue at Goodison in recent seasons has been the lack of creativity and energy in the middle of midfield following the loss of Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
Andre Gomes suffered a long-term injury and the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fabian Delph and Tom Davies lack the attacking threat and mobility desired at times.
If Ancelotti gets his way in the transfer market, a midfield duo of Doucoure and Allan could be the answer, with Rodriguez playing in a No.10 role behind Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack.
Rodriguez could also be deployed on the right flank if Ancelotti decides to revert to his 4-4-2 formation to move ahead of Theo Walcott, Bernard and Alex Iwobi as a right-sided option.
Only time will tell how the Blues could line up on the opening day of the Premier League season when they take on Tottenham with some new-found optimism and sprinkle of South American flair.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing