Ronald Koeman is clearly looking to make some statement signings following a recent cash injection into the club from new owner Farhad Moshiri.
Reportedly, according to Telegraph Sport, Everton were preparing a huge £25 million bid for Swansea attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, but the Icelandic international has since signed a new deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium. Here are three ambitious alternatives that Everton could still sign from English clubs for a similar fee.
Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson in action with Manchester United's Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind
1. Juan Mata
Juan Mata celebrates scoring for United
The 28-year-old Spaniard has been plying his trade in the Premier League for four seasons now, and shortly after he first arrived at London outfit Chelsea, fans nailed him down as a world beater. In his first two years with the Blues, Mata could practically do no wrong, and won multiple trophies including the famous Champions League triumph of 2012.
When José Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge around two years later however, no supporter could have predicted that Mata would be tossed aside so brutally by 'The Special One'. Mata was dropped to the substitutes bench, and was also publicly criticised by boss Mourinho for his lack of work ethic on the field.
In January of that year Mata was sold to Manchester United for a fee of £37.1 million, amidst obvious conflict between player and manager. Mata's career has stuttered since at Old Trafford, with periods of the playmaker showing brilliance and periods of underwhelming performances. Now, with the arrival of Mourinho at Old Trafford, it is very possible that the Portuguese boss will look to sell Mata again, and a bid of £25 million could certainly be tempting.
Mata is a more diminutive figure than Sigurdsson, but has undeniable quality on the ball and good knowledge of the Premier League. If Koeman can convince him of Everton's increased ambitions and also perhaps make the player feel wanted and a potential key part of the Toffees' squad, then the Spaniard could see a move to Everton as an opportunity to play regular Premier League football and get his career firing again, an opportunity he may not have under Mourinho at United.
Chelsea's Oscar in action
If a move for Juan Mata fails, then how about an audacious move for the man whose career profited from Mata's demise at Stamford Bridge? Like Mata, Oscar had a couple of seasons at Chelsea where he was invincible, clearly a favourite of then manager Mourinho. His dribbling prowess helped to create goals and assists aplenty, and Oscar was regarded as one of the best young players in world football. But more recently his form has undoubtedly dipped, frustrating Chelsea fans and the wider footballing world alike, and as a result his starting place has looked less assured.
New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has reportedly hinted, according to The Telegraph, that he might acquiesce to the sale of Oscar this summer. Then the Brazilian posted this picture on his Instagram account. Could it represent his waving goodbye to the Chelsea fans? Oscar would have no shortage of interested parties around Europe if he were to leave, but like Mata, if Koeman could offer the player star status and a competitive wage at Everton, Oscar might be enticed to stay in the Premier League and attempt to prove himself.
3. Moussa Sissoko
Moussa Sissoko is looking for a move away from Newcastle
Perhaps the most unlikely move out of all three of these speculative transfers would be Newcastle's Sissoko. But in terms of trying to make a statement that Everton are now able to compete with the top clubs in Europe, Koeman could do much worse than snap up Sissoko, with reported interest in the player from Real Madrid (The Guardian).
But as the transfer deadline approaches, Sissoko may start to become more desperate for offers, as it appears that Newcastle are yet to receive an official bid from any club. This also could be a problem for Newcastle themselves, as judging by their net spend so far this summer, it would suggest that they are accounting for Sissoko leaving St. James' Park in order to balance the books and avoid a Financial Fair Play rule violation. The Geordie club have slapped a £35 million price tag on the Frenchman, but a concrete offer of around £25 million from Everton could interest the Championship club.
Sissoko has a playing style that is largely different to both Mata and Oscar. With a taller and broader physique, Sissoko's game relies more on strength and power than the other two players, who are more technically equipped. He can be an inconsistent performer, and has frustrated the Toon army on many occasions - but when he is in the mood, he can be close to unplayable. Off the back of a terrific Euro campaign with his national team, perhaps now Sissoko would be interested in joining Everton and making the step up to being consistently one of the Premier League's leading players.
All three of these players would not come cheaply, and would be very ambitious signings if any were pulled off by Everton. But the Merseyside club clearly have the funds to bring in some top quality names, in deals that could surprise their supporters. Having missed out on Icelandic target Gylfi Sigurdsson, they may be looking abroad to find their next attacking target. But there are a few playmakers still available in this country, players that know our league inside out, and players that have all at one time or more proved their outstanding potential in the Premier League.