By Adefunmiloye Alani

14th Jan, 2022 | 5:10pm

Benitez baulked at £15million fee for Everton loanee El Ghazi

Everton boss Rafa Benitez was reluctant to agree to pay a permanent £15million transfer fee for Anwar El Ghazi, according to The Athletic.

The Spaniard had not actively chased the Aston Villa attacking midfielder, with him only coming up in conversation between Farhad Moshiri and his advisor Kia Joorabchian during negotiations over the deal for Lucas Digne.

As a result, he agreed to a loan for the rest of the season, with an option to buy, and he believes he might be able to coax El Ghazi, 26, back into the form that saw him bag 10 Premier League goals in 2020-21.

Fair enough

With Alex Iwobi currently with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations and Andros Townsend only just coming back from an injury, the Toffees clearly needed another attacking option.

Benitez would have loved to sign someone else as he had his own list, but given their Financial Fair Play restrictions, a loan deal makes sense, and Everton will be hoping this gamble turns out to be a hit.

El Ghazi has started just four times in the Premier League this term, with his other five appearances coming off the bench.

Nevertheless, he has managed to score three goals, assisting another three in 12 games across all competitions, and he could be a solid addition for the Blues.

He has often struggled for consistency, and given Benitez’s track record of making players better, the Dutchman could turn out to be a solid signing.

He last played for the Netherlands in 2015, and should he manage to impress at Goodison Park and secure a permanent move in the summer, he could be back with the national team ahead of the World Cup later this year.

In other Everton news, the Toffees are plotting January loan-to-buy bid for centre-mid hailed by Jack Grealish last month.

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