Everton still want to bring in Abdoulaye Doucoure even if they can seal deals for both of Allan and James Rodriguez. Carlo Ancelotti is looking to bolster his Toffees’ midfield and is poised to land Allan as his first signing as boss.
A deal worth £22m with a further £2.6m in add-ons has been agreed with Napoli for the Brazilian holder, who has spent five years at the Serie A side.
The 29-year-old, who turns 30 in January, remains an important part of the Napoli team and made 33 appearances last season, facing Everton’s arch-rivals Liverpool home and away in the Champions League.
But Ancelotti is set to prise the South American away from Naples and it is thought personal terms have been agreed, with Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis having publicly said his farewells to the player.
Allan is due on Merseyside for a medical this week and with his arrival all but confirmed, Everton are hard at work on other deals at the same time.
Everton boss Ancelotti is particularly eager to once again reunite with attacking midfielder Rodriguez, who he worked with at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Rodriguez, 29, has entered the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu and Los Blancos are ready to move him on after he started just five times in La Liga last season but want £25m for his talents. A possible loan deal has also been mooted as a possibility.
The Colombian has endured an indifferent spell in the Spanish capital since joining for around £63m from Monaco after his brilliant displays at the 2014 World Cup.
It is believed that Ancelotti, the man who signed him for Real Madrid six years ago, has held phone calls with the player to convince him about a move to Goodison Park.
Rodriguez has been left out of pre-season training by the Spanish champions and per The Guardian, Ancelotti is confident he will wrap up a deal for the playmaker before Everton start their new Premier League campaign against Tottenham on Sunday 13 September.
But the report adds that even if both Allan and Rodriguez are added to the team, the Italian coach still wants to reinvent Everton’s midfield with one more acquisition, Doucoure.
Everton are said to be in talks with Watford over the Frenchman who has long been linked with a move to Merseyside and was the subject of rejected bids last summer, including one just shy of £37m.
Watford’s relegation to the Championship means they are vulnerable to losing some of their best players, which includes Doucoure, who can play in multiple roles in the middle.
The 27-year-old mustered 17 goals and 12 assists in 129 appearances for the Hertfordshire club in the Premier League and can be deployed as an attacking midfielder or in a more defensive role.
With Everton bringing in Allan and also potentially Rodriguez, Doucoure would presumably be utilised as a box-to-box midfielder.
The Watford Observer last week reported that with Everton and Watford well apart in their valuations of the former Rennes ace, the player also has options outside of the Premier League.
ESPN FC’s Craig Burley meanwhile fears that Everton may struggle to restructure their starting eleven around No 10 Rodriguez.
“If you’re a supporter of a football club and you’re signing this calibre of player, this calibre of talent, then it’s exciting,” Burley told ESPN FC.
“But I just don’t see where the fit is if I’m being honest. The reason, if you looked at Everton in the last six months or so or beyond, they’ve had two up top.
“That might change but they’ve gone forward early, over the top, with Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin and they’ve used their physicality to try and get in-behind.
“But, you’re going to have to build everything around [Rodriguez].
“You’re going to have to have runners, workers and grafters around them because generally Everton haven’t dominated games.
“We know James Rodriguez is not the first in the queue when it comes to working back, so in terms of a talent, yes, but it could be something similar to Mesut Ozil at Arsenal where you have all this talent, but how does he fit into this current team?
“That’s kind of where I see it with the current Everton squad.”