Frank Lampard has a difficult task ahead of him in the upcoming 2022-23 Premier League season after Everton narrowly avoided a catastrophic drop down to the Championship while finishing just four points above the relegation zone.
With a club of its stature languishing in the bottom third of the table and miles away from its historical rivals, Everton has done itself no favors for most of the summer when it has come to its recruitment strategy, but could finally be finding its feet in the transfer market after deals for James Tarkowski (free) and Rúben Vinagre (loan with a buy option) have been secured.
As reported in The Telegraph, Everton is now on the heals of Burnley after the Clarets’ relegation last season, and has tabled a £15m bid for key winger and former England youth international Dwight McNeil, which has been corroborated by transfer insider Fabrizio Romano, stating that the Toffees will stump up between £19-20m after add-ons are included.
The 22-year-old Burnley academy product by way of Manchester United has been a standout presence at Turf Moor for four seasons from 2018-2022, making 146 appearances across all competitions in the process.
As talks have reached the final stages that will see Burnley boss Vincent Kompany lose yet another star player this summer, one stat has emerged that could point to Everton potentially finding a real bargain in the current market.
Tweeted by EFC Statto, one key data point that suggests McNeil could be set for a vital role in the senior squad under Lampard; chance creation.
McNeil crafted 47 chances last season in the Premier League, which not only was good enough to see him place in the top-25 in England’s top tier last term, but he also created more chances than any Everton player including former Toffee and Brazilian international Richarlison.
Despite registering just one assist for his efforts - which surely is through no fault of his own but rather the lack of goalscoring prowess at Turf Moor - McNeil could well jump ahead in the queue on the left flank and surpass Damarai Gray and Anthony Gordon in the pecking order.
In quotes provided by the Liverpool Echo, Lampard recently spoke about the need for Everton to fill the void when it comes to the quality on offer in attack after Richarlison departed the blue half of Merseyside for Tottenham this summer, which could point to the key role that McNeil may be in line for.
“There is no doubt about it. When you think of where we were last year, we have lost a big player in Richarlison… we wish him well, but our club now continues”
“We know there is a void in forward areas, we are short in numbers there. Also, through the team, there are things I want to strengthen, and I can be honest about that because a club like Everton has to have a competitive squad.”
Considering that there is no guarantee that Everton will avoid another relegation battle this season, the Goodison Park faithful are surely set to wait with bated breath as Everton will have to persist in the wake of any completed deal for McNeil if they are put considerable distance between themselves and heartbreak in the coming season.