Deal all but done: Everton table mega offer for proven Premier League performer - Sky journalist
By Harry Sykes
Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is close to joining Everton for £18million, according to a report.
Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has revealed on his personal website that the deal is almost done for the 23-year-old to move to Goodison Park this summer.
Di Marzio claims that Everton have made Pickford a massive wages offer that triples his current salary after identifying him as the man they want as their No1 next season.
The transfer expert explained that Ronald Koeman’s side had also considered buying Manchester City’s Joe Hart and Saint-Etienne’s Stephane Ruffier but have set their sights firmly on Pickford.
Sunderland are in a weakened bargaining position after their relegation from the Premier League last weekend.
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The north-east club face little hope of hanging on to the Englishman, even though he is from Wearside and a product of the club’s academy.
Premier League sensation Pickford has emerged as the outstanding young goalkeeper in English football during a campaign in which he has been promoted to the England senior squad and has emerged as a strong candidate for the 2018 World Cup squad.
He grabbed his chance at the start of the season and has arguably been Sunderland’s best player in a mostly wretched season.
Pickford has started 25 of Sunderland’s league matches and demonstrated his appetite for the big time after loan spells at Bradford, Preston, Carlisle, Darlington, Burton and Alfreton.
Everton have two senior goalkeepers on their payroll, Maarten Stekelenburg, who followed Koeman from Southampton last summer, and Joel Robles.
But Stekelenburg was dropped following a number of error-strewn performances in the opening half of the campaign, and Robles has not convinced since being given his chance.
In other Everton transfer news, the club have agreed to sign up a centre-forward who is loved by Ronald Koeman.