By Matt Farr
AC Milan remain confident of striking a deal with Everton to sign Gerard Deulofeu, despite having a bid rejected – according to a reliable journalist.
The two clubs have been locked in negotiations over a potential loan deal for the Spaniard, but their pursuit hit a setback on Wednesday when the Times correspondent Paul Joyce revealed on his Twitter account that Everton had rejected their initial offer.
However, Sky Sports journalist Kaveh Solhekol has since revealed on Twitter that AC Milan remain optimistic at coming to an agreement, and are likely to return with an improved offer.
AC Milan optimistic they are close to deal to take Gerard Deulofeu on loan from Everton
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 18, 2017
Everton are believed to be looking to be paid a loan fee, and remain willing to let Deulofeu leave the club this month.
The Mirror, meanwhile, claim that Ajax have now entered the race to land the former Barcelona winger, meaning that AC Milan will be under pressure to submit an improved offer.
Deulofeu has fallen out of favour at Everton under Ronald Koeman, and has made just 13 appearances for the Toffees this season.
He was omitted from Ronald Koeman’s squad that took on Manchester City on Sunday, with new signing Ademola Lookman getting the nod instead.
The Toffees did not appear to miss him though, running out 4-0 winners.
Football Insider verdict
Gerard Deulofeu is a phenomenal player, and one that still has vast potential to fulfil. However, he is simply not getting the necessary game-time under Ronald Koeman, and therefore a loan move is the best option for him. Everton should really be keeping a player of his quality at the club, but there doesn’t appear to be any other solution to Deulofeu’s lack of appearances than for him to leave on loan. Hopefully, Milan – or Ajax – can get his career back on track and he can prove to Koeman exactly what he and Everton will be missing.
In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees have made a decision on this £31 million-rated forward.