By Danny Wright
Everton have entered the race for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet, according to a report.
The Times claims that the Toffees are also joined by their Premier League rivals Newcastle in the hunt for Praet, 23, who is valued at £18.5million by the Serie A side after he joined them from Anderlecht last summer.
It is understood that Newcastle deployed their scouts to keep close tabs on Praet during last week’s Serie A clash with Benevento, when he completed almost the entirety of his side’s 2-1 win.
The one-time Belgium international earned 34 appearances for Sampdoria last season, scoring one goal in the process which came in a 3-2 win over Roma.
Most of his game time came from the bench and if he was to join Everton it is likely that he would find it hard to force his way into a team that is bursting with talent in the midfield.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye, Tom Davies and summer signings Davy Klaassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson can also play in similar positions to Praet.
Football Insider Verdict
Everton have already spent big this summer and joining the race for Praet is perhaps slightly unnecessary. The Toffees are blessed in their midfield options and they would only be wasting a lot of money if they landed the Belgium international at his current asking price. Obviously the Merseysiders could offer more money to him than a Newcastle side that haven’t been able to have the best of transfer windows, but a move to Tyneside would present Praet with much more first-team football. Everton need to focus all their efforts on a new striker before anything else.
In other Everton news, Koeman has confirmed a big injury blow ahead of the Blues’ trip to Hadjuk Split on Thursday.