Danny Mills believes Everton signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace would be a “real statement”.
The 26-year-old Ivory Coast has been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park this summer. Arsenal had initially been favourites, but their interest has since cooled off, which saw Everton move in before recently denying they lodged a second bid.
Zaha was heavily associated with a move north of the Thames to Arsenal, whom he supported as a child, but a transfer now seems highly unlikely after the Gunners struck a deal with Lille for Nicolas Pepe, leaving the door open for Everton who saw an opening offer of £50m turned down before denying they had made a second bid.
Despite this reported setback the Toffees, who know the Selhurst Park club value their prized asset at £80m, are expected to come back with another bid. And Mills believes that, should Everton manage to pull off the deal, it will send a real signal to the rest of the Premier League about their intentions this season.
“It would be a real statement of intent to get somebody like Zaha,” he said. He can play up front as a centre forward, but he can also play out wide, creating and assisting.”
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He added: “When you think it could be Zaha on one side, Richarlison on the other, they’ve then got the likes of Sigurdsson in behind, Bernard, [Andre] Gomes… They’ve got some really good players in and around that side.”
Mills also believes the project underway at Everton, which has seen them unveil the plans for their brand new Bramley Moore Dock stadium site, makes the Merseyside club a much more attractive proposition for big-name players.
“Everton have clearly got a big project,” Mills said. “The training ground is fantastic, they’ve just launched plans for their new stadium, so that’s going to look absolutely incredible.”
Marco Silva has managed to secure the permanent signing of Andre Gomes from Barcelona this summer, as well as fellow midfielder Fabian Delph from Man City and goalkeeper Jonas Lossl from Huddersfield Town.
However, the Toffees still like a natural goalscorer and are down two centre-backs after Kurt Zouma’s loan from Chelsea expired and Phil Jagielka left for Sheffield United.
Those issues, coupled with Idrissa Gana Gueye being heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain, mean Silva and director of football Marcel Brands still have a lot of work to do in the final days of the transfer window.