If Everton are serious about their hopes to evolve into a regular Champions League challenger, making a real statement of intent in the transfer market is non-negotiable.
Yet, according to Football Italia, Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie, one of the most in-demand players in world football, could be set for a mega-money move to Roma less than a month after The Guardian reported that The Toffees had made an offer less than half of the youngster’s valuation.
The 20-year-old has exploded onto the scene in the Italian top flight this season, netting six goals from midfield and drawing rather inevitable comparisons with compatriot and Ivorian legend Yaya Toure.
And such a likeness is not without foundation. Like the Manchester City powerhouse, Kessie possesses the pace and natural physique to storm through opposition midfields and ping thunderous strikes at goal.
In fact, his performances have been so impressive this season that, according to various reports, almost every European giant on the continent has expressed an interest, from Juventus to Inter Milan, via Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Yet, Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez appears to have let the cat out of the bag, admitting that he believes his prodigious team-mate has already been signed by Roma, Football Italia reports.
Considering The Guardian reported that Everton offered just £15 million, some £20 million short of Kessie’s asking price, it appears that The Toffees’ tight-fistedness means they have missed out on a player seemingly guaranteed to progress to the very top of the European game.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman could prove inspired additions but the signing of Kessie, from under the noses of the traditional elite, would have laid down a marker.