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Sigurdsson out of Swansea’s U.S. tour as Everton move nears

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Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s exit from Swansea City now seems inevitable and one of the biggest moves of the summer is well and truly on.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s next star striker? ]

Sigurdsson, 27, has been left out of Swansea’s squad for their preseason trip to the USA with the club making an announcement Thursday following constant speculation over his future in South Wales.

It has been widely reported that Everton will now come in with an improved bid for the player after their initial bid of $51.7 million was reportedly turned down.

Here’s the statement from the Swans on Sigurdsson.

“We can confirm that Gylfi Sigurdsson will not travel with the squad for our pre-season tour of the USA. Having played vs. Barnet last night, Gylfi did not feel in the right frame of mind to travel due to the current uncertainty over his future.”

The Swans are said to want $65 million for Sigurdsson and their manager Paul Clement spoke after the 1-0 friendly defeat at Barnet on Wednesday, saying that there was “strong interest” in Sigurdsson and that they “are not sure whether he is going to be here for this season.”

Sigurdsson’s output in a poor Swansea side was remarkable in 2016-17 with the Icelandic international scoring nine goals and grabbing 13 assists to keep the Swans in the PL. His silky crosses and key passes in the final third have teams lining up to try and sign him.

It is believed both Leicester City and Everton have already had bids turned down by Swansea this summer and although they do not want to sell Sigurdsson the situation now seems to have spiraled out of control.

If Everton do sign Sigurdsson then it would surely mark Ross Barkley‘s exit from Goodison Park as Ronald Koeman continues to be ruthless in the transfer market and rebuild his squad.

Despite selling top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for $96.5 million, Koeman has added Davy Klassen, Wayne Rooney and Sandro Ramirez in the attacking area of the pitch, while Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford have arrived to strengthen their defense.

Everton’s total spend for this summer will soar past $180 million if Sigurdsson does arrive and owner Farhad Moshiri will have kept his promise about spending big to try and turn the Toffees into a top four outfit. Sigurdsson would be one of the final pieces of the jigsaw for Koeman who is hoping to cope with the loss of Lukaku by having several attackers chip in with “10-15 goals” this season.

For Swansea, this would be a big blow in Clement’s plans for the new season and it means they will have lost three key players who helped keep them up last season with Jack Cork signing for Burnley, Sigurdsson on the way out and Fernando Llorente struggling to be fit for the start of the season after suffering a broken arm over the summer.

Wayne Rooney nearing completion of Everton move

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Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is headed for the Old Trafford exits.

With his play declining over the last few years, the 31-year-old England international is reportedly at Everton for a medical ahead of what has been widely reported as a free transfer.

Rooney came to Manchester United from Everton back in August of 2004 in a move that kickstarted a stellar Old Trafford and England career that included five Premier League titles, a Champions League triumph, and a Golden Boot. The Liverpool native has agreed to take a massive pay cut to join the Toffees, according to The Mirror.

According to the report, Everton manager and disciplinarian Ronald Koeman believes Rooney can be a positive influence on the younger crop of players at Goodison Park, including Ross Barkley who has had occasional trouble with his off-field behavior in the past.

Sky Sports caught Rooney on camera arriving at Everton’s training ground for his medical.

Rooney scored just five goals last season across 25 appearances, although just 15 of those were starts. 10 of those starts came bookending the season, as he started five straight to start the year and five straight to cap it off, but between the bookends he was a fringe player at best.

Wages cut, some paid by Man Utd: The latest on Rooney to Everton

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The latest on Wayne Rooney‘s proposed move back home to Everton is that each new story seems to point toward a near certainty of England’s all-time leading scorer donning the Toffees’ blue.

Rooney, 31, is said to be ready to take a pay cut to help make the move happen, according to Sky Sports, while the BBC says Manchester United could pay part of his wages in addition to letting Rooney walk for no transfer fee.

United is doing almost everything to make the risks of adding Rooney minimal to Everton. While the subplots will remain major should the living legend be unable to make a dent in the Toffees’ plans, the money at least will be less of a hindrance.

[ MORE: Messi “best paid athlete in world”]

With the move close to happening, Rooney can fully turn his attention to finding his way into Ronald Koeman‘s XI, with big names Sandro Ramirez, Kevin Mirallas, Davy Klaassen, Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin all vying for time in the attack. Ross Barkley is still on the books, too, and Yannick Bolasie should return at some point this season.

Bad news for Rooney fans in the U.S., though, as the longtime England captain looks set to avoid United’s preseason trip to the States.

Why are Everton spending big, and early, this summer?

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Everton’s transfer business has taken the Premier League by storm this summer with Ronald Koeman splashing the cash faster than a Dutchman at a clog sale.

[ MORE: Everton sign Keane | Sandro

Seriously though, what the Toffees have done thus far in the transfer window is incredibly impressive with owner Farhad Moshiri sticking to his promise of investing heavily in the playing squad as five new faces have arrived for a combined total of over $110 million, with Everton spending more money than any other PL club this summer.

But why are they in such a rush?

The main two reasons are the following: a) they have a Europa League qualifying campaign which begins in just over three weeks. b) to try and entice Romelu Lukaku to stay at Goodison Park.

Many have suggested the latter reason is a lost cause with Lukaku linked with a $127 million return to Chelsea, while Manchester United and others also remain interested. Yet what if Koeman has said to Lukaku, Everton’s leading goalscorer in each of the past four campaigns who scored 25 times in the PL last season, ‘if I get in more quality players around you, just give me one more year.’

Lukaku has a contract at Everton until July 2019 and although the Belgian striker has failed to commit to a new deal, this is not like an Alexis Sanchez situation where the Toffees have to cash in now or risk losing him for nothing next summer. They hold plenty of the power and the word out of Goodison is they don’t want to sell Lukaku right now.

Of course, Everton’s success is about more than one player and although Lukaku is the focal point of their attack they have now built a new core of the team since Koeman arrived last summer.

This is the potential starting lineup for the Toffees in the 2017-18 campaign as they aim to try and break into the top four.

—– Pickford —-

— Coleman — Williams — Keane — Baines —

— Davies — Schneiderlin — Gueye —

— Klaassen — Sandro

—– Lukaku —–

Of course, Coleman is out with a long-term injury so Mason Holgate will likely slot in at right back, but the rest of the team picks itself. With Jordan Pickford a huge upgrade on Maarten Steklenburg and Joel Robles in goal, Michael Keane a club-record buy to replace the ageing Phil Jagielka at center back, Davy Klaassen in for Ross Barkley in attacking midfield and Sandro Ramirez to support Lukaku in attack. Also, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman, stars of England’s U-20 World Cup success, will be pushing for a starting spot.

This is an extremely strong squad and more additions could arrive this summer for the Toffees with reports suggesting potential moves for Wayne Rooney and Olivier Giroud are not out of the question. How either player would get in this starting lineup, if Lukaku was to stay, is beyond me.

Everton have done the majority of their business early this summer with the Europa League qualifiers in mind, but also with a firm sense that Koeman can easily improve on their seventh-place finish in the PL last season with Director of Football Steve Walsh now in the job for a full year as he continues to make his stamp on the club after putting together a title-winning squad at Leicester City.

The Toffees faded badly in 2016-17 — picking up four points from their last five PL games — but with these additions they’ve already addressed their main needs and now balancing the dreaded Thursday-Sunday schedule remains the main obstacle for them to overcome if they qualify for the Europa League group stage.

Yes, they may have paid higher than expected for Pickford, Keane and Klaassen but that was a risk worth taking for getting players in early. Every other Premier League club and manager would love to have their squad almost settled like Koeman has by the time preseason arrives, but with certain players only allowed to leave once a replacement is found, the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are finding it tough to push moves through.

Everton aren’t just spending money for the sake of it. They’re addressing their needs diligently and are hoping that buying early will have the team settled by the time August 12 rolls around so they can take the next step in the 2017-18 PL campaign.

That’s the main reason Koeman has struck early, and often, in the transfer market. And the Toffees are now way ahead of their rivals as they aim to become a genuine top four contender.

Everton sign striker Sandro Ramirez from Malaga

Sandro Ramirez
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Everton’s busy summer continues with Ronald Koeman making his fourth signing of the transfer window.

[ MORE: Mourinho annoyed at United? ]

Sandro Ramirez, 21, has arrived at Goodison Park from Malaga with the former Barcelona striker arriving for just $6.7 million after the Toffees triggered the release clause in his contract.

He has signed a four-year deal at Everton as the Barca product scored 16 goals for Malaga in La Liga last season after leaving the Nou Camp for regular action.

Speaking to Everton’s website Sandro was full of enthusiasm for the big challenge ahead as he believes the Toffees can challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot.

“I’m very happy, this is a big step in my career,” Sandro said. “I know I’m signing for a massive club in England. Everton is the ideal place for me, I’ve got the ideal manager who is going to keep giving me the confidence to improve my game. I cannot wait to wear the blue shirt in front of the Everton fans at Goodison Park.

“It’s a big jump in my career coming to the Premier League and for a club like Everton which is really on the up. They have got big plans and want to succeed and keep developing. I’m hoping I can get to know my teammates as soon as possible, and want to adapt to the football and the way of life in the city. Everton have made some big signings and we’re hoping we can put in a great season and hopefully then we can achieve that aim of getting in the Champions League. It will be a big season for us.”

Sandro’s arrival comes after Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaasen and Henry Onyekuru (he will spend next season on loan at Anderlecht), with the total spend now over $90 million.

With Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley expected to leave this summer, Koeman is certainly doing his business early as he looks to rebuild the spine of his team which finished seventh in the PL last season and have UEFA Europa League action to look forward to.

Pickford will start in goal, Klaassen will be the main creator in midfield and Sandro could well be their main forward if Lukaku leaves. Onyekuru is one for the future with the Nigerian youngster the top scorer in Belgium’s top-flight last season, and all of a sudden Everton’s promise to invest heavily in their playing squad has come true.

Owner Farhad Moshiri promised extra funds when he arrived and with a new stadium proposal in the works, Koeman bringing an exciting brand of play to Goodison and youngsters involved with plenty of new signings, Everton is a club on the up.

A top four finish still seems a little way off, especially with the Europa League to contend with in 2017-18, but Koeman’s boys are well-equipped for a battle in all four competitions this season.