Everton sign two English wingers in quick succession – A much-needed double signing for Benitez?

Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend join Everton

A report by The Athletic (Subscription Required) confirms that Demarai Gray has followed Andros Townsend to Everton as the Toffees sign the two English wingers in quick succession. Gray has cost Everton about £1.7m in transfer fee as he returns to the Premier League after just 6 months at Bundesliga side, Bayer Leverkusen.

Townsend, on the other hand, arrives as a free agent after his contract at Crystal Palace ran out this summer. Rafael Benitez seems to be stamping his mark at Goodison Park after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti. But are these two signings beneficial for an Everton side looking to qualify for European competition next season? Let us explore.

Everton needed wingers urgently

The situation down the flanks at Everton was pretty shaky before Gray and Townsend signed. The club saw Theo Walcott join Southampton as a free agent after his contract ended at Goodison Park. Moreover, 32-year-old winger, Yannick Bolasie, was released from the squad earlier this summer after his deal expired as well.

Everton have signed Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen and free agent, Andros Townsend.
Everton have signed Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen and free agent, Andros Townsend (in picture). [Image: Everton website]

The two weren’t regulars for Everton, but that left the Toffees short on the flanks for this campaign. As if they hadn’t lost enough wingers in one window, Eurosport mentions that the United Arab Emirates club, Sharjah, have confirmed the signing of Brazilian wide man Bernard.

That left the club with only Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi as their options out wide. While the former Arsenal man has had minutes at Everton, 20-year-old Gordon is very much in the formative years of his professional career. He was loaned out to Preston North End earlier this year and has just 7 senior starts in his entire career for the Merseysiders.

And this is why, Benitez’s double capture of Gray and Townsend makes a lot of sense. The duo comes from varying age groups. Gray is 25 and still has a lot of years ahead of him to develop and become an even better player, while Townsend, at 30, can be more of a short-term solution to Everton’s potential problem down the flanks.

Gray has 133 Premier League appearances to his name.
Gray has 133 Premier League appearances to his name. (Image: Everton website)

Gray and Townsend are wise acquistions by Everton

Everton probably see it like that themselves, considering they’ve signed Townsend on a two-year deal, while the former Leicester City man is on a contract that expires in the summer of 2024. Everton would also be helped by the fact by Walcott, Bolasie, and Bernard, who was on more than £100,000-a-week, are off their books.

Thus, Gray and Townsend’s wage demands can be met with relative ease if compared to the situation where the aforementioned trio remained at Everton. Wing-play is an important source of attack for a lot of teams around the world and thus, having quality as well as depth in that area is always advised for a top club.

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Gray and Townsend also cost a total of just £1.7million, which is a pretty sweet deal for the Toffees. This can be attributed to Everton’s smart scouting work of identifying Townsend’s situation at Selhurst Palace and triggering Gray’s release clause at Leverkusen. The pair also boasts considerable experience in Premier League football, which is an added bonus for Benitez.

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