Considering just how impressive Bryan Cristante has been during his loan spell at Atalanta from Benfica, it should be no surprise that there is plenty of English interest in the dynamic midfielder.
Tuttosport (6th March) claim that West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Watford are all keen on Cristante, who Atalanta are expected to sign permanently for £2 million before selling on for a huge profit. The report claims that the Bergamo-based outfit would demand £27 million for a player who has ten goals in 33 games this season from midfield.
Such a fee, therefore, would make Cristante West Ham’s record signing, but with Hammers boss David Moyes making it very clear that he wants a forceful and high-octane central midfielder amid links with Harry Arter, Joe Allen and Leander Dendoncker, the once-capped Italy international certainly ticks many boxes.
But if there is one Premier League side who know just how good Cristante can be, it is Everton.
After all, the 23-year-old showcased all the skills that have made him one of Europe’s most exciting midfield talents in two Europa League group-stage games against the Toffees in the first half of this season.
Everton could not live with his intelligent forward runs and clinical finishing, with Cristante scoring once in the 3-0 defeat in Bergamo before finding the net twice as Atalanta destroyed Sam Allardyce’s side 5-1 at Goodison Park.
Yes, Everton are not short of central midfielders but Cristante, a deep-lying goalscorer in the mould of Frank Lampard, would give a team short on end product another attacking dimension.