Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Everton have missed out on the signing of Geronimo Rulli with Unai Emery’s Villarreal completing a bargain £4 million move for the Real Sociedad goalkeeper, according to Marca.

With only days remaining until the Premier League season kicks off, Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford will be wiping the sweat from his brow.

Despite a miserable 2019/20 season in which he challenged Chelsea keeper Kepa for the title of the division’s most error-prone shot-stopper, the 26-year-old remains his club and country’s number one.

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Then again, Ancelotti has no real choice but to put his faith in Pickford.

While Gareth Southgate has Dean Henderson and Nick Pope to choose from, the Everton boss only has the out-of-favour Jonas Lossl in reserve and youngster Joao Virginia, who flopped badly on loan at Reading.

El Desmarque reported last week the Merseyside giants had identified Argentina international Rulli as the man to put pressure on Pickford between the sticks.

But the 28-year-old has put pen to paper with Villarreal instead, leaving Ancelotti hoping and praying his former Sunderland ace can rediscover his remarkable 2018 form.

A cat-like keeper with the reflexes of a wide-eyed kitten, Rulli has saved penalties by Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar in La Liga.

And, after a loan spell at Montpellier, he will hope to re-establish himself as one of the top goalkeepers in Spanish football at Villarreal.

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Everton’s opening fixtures of the 2020/21 season

  1. Tottenham (A)

    September 12

  2. West Brom (H)

    September 19

  3. Crystal Palace (A)

    September 26

  4. Brighton (H)

    October 3

  5. Liverpool (H)

    October 17

  6. Southampton (A)

    October 26

In other news, 'He annoys me': Jermaine Beckford makes claim about reported Leeds target