Why have Everton exited Jakub Jankto race as Arsenal close in?

Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on October 22, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

Everton have watched Udinese's Serie A star Jakub Jankto in action for the majority of 2017 - but he's reportedly closer to joining Premier League rival Arsenal instead.

Jakub Jankto of Udinese Calcio celebrates after scoring  his teams fourth goal  during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and US Citta di Palermo at Stadio Friuli on March 19, 2017...

After months of speculation, it seems Jakub Jankto is about to make a step up from Udinese. But, for whatever reason, Everton are conspicuous by their absence from the chase for one of Serie A’s most in demand talents.

According to Calciomercato, Arsenal have been watching Jankto for over a year and, with Arsene Wenger a big believer in the Czech midfielder’s potential, The Gunners look likely to beat AC Milan and Juventus for his signature in January.

The 21-year-old, who burst onto the scene with five goals and four assists for Udinese last season, is understood to have a release clause of just £6 million in his contract. The word ‘bargain’, then, does not do Jankto justice.

Jakub Jankto of the Czech Republic in action during the International Friendly match between Belgium and Czech Republic at Stade Roi Baudouis on June 5, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.

But why have Everton seemingly dropped out of the race? Tuttomercatoweb reported in July that The Toffees had watched the dynamic midfielder on a number of occasions last season and The Sun claimed as recently as September that a move to Goodison Park was still a possibility in January.

All down to Koeman?

It’s perhaps telling, however, that former Everton manager Ronald Koeman was said to be the driver of the deal. And it may be no coincidence that Everton are no longer seen as a serious candidate a month after the Dutch manager was sacked.

Everton Manager Ronald Koeman shouts at his team from the touchline during the Premier League match between Everton and AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park on September 23, 2017 in Liverpool,...

It must be pointed out too that Everton aren’t short of midfield options. While adding Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen to an already talented bunch in the summer, academy graduates Beni Baningime and Tom Davies have also cemented their place in the first-team this season.

But with Jankto available for just £6 million and a Premier League rival closing in, it remains to be seen whether Everton will regret letting him pass them by.

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