OFFICIAL: Everton sign Demarai Gray from Leverkusen
Everton have completed the signing of Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee of £1.6 million.
The transfer of Gray comes just a few days after the Toffees confirmed the acquisition of winger Andros Townsend from Crystal Palace on a free transfer.
New Everton head coach Rafa Benitez has recognised the need for additional wide men this summer, and the club has acted swiftly to recruit both Gray and Townsend during pre-season ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.
After impressing initially with Birmingham City, Gray eventually earned a £3.7m transfer to Leicester in 2016.
He would go on to make 169 appearances for the Foxes, though many of them were from the bench.
Frustrated at a lack of opportunities from the start, Gray would move to Leverkusen in January of 2021 on an 18-month deal.
However, he would only spend a few months in Germany before the confirmed return to the Premier League with Everton.
“For me, the targets that I’ve set myself and what the Club’s ambitions are, collectively everything felt right to me to join Everton,” Gray told evertontv after the deal was announced.
“I want to push on, be a pivotal player in the squad, and help the team score goals and assist goals.
“I’m a speedy, tricky winger. I enjoy running with the ball, roaming around the pitch.
“I like to play anywhere along the front three and I feel like I can be dangerous in all areas. And with the ability I know I have and the belief I have in myself, I think I can add to this team.
“I feel like I’m at a stage in my career now where I can put everything together. There are areas of my game where I still want to improve and become better at.
“I’m excited to kick on.”
Everton fans react to Benitez
Though not universally negative, the majority of Everton fans appear to be unhappy with Benitez becoming manager due to his history as manager of rivals Liverpool.
Here are a selection of tweet reactions:
"Disgusting and embarrassing from the club this. Another write off season or few under him and just embarrassing. You’d never see Liverpool appoint a former Everton manager.'"
Time for me to take an emotional break from the blues. I’ll be back after he has gone. 👋🏻— James&Cheese (@rpw1888) June 30, 2021
"Alienated most of the fans base. Will create an awful atmosphere at Goodison. For me and my time being a blue nothing surprises me anymore. The lack of care given to our fans by the board staggers me. just goes to show the fans don’t matter and never will."
"Time for me to take an emotional break from the Blues. I’ll be back after he has gone."
"Stop trying to sugar coat it, biggest mistake in the club’s history, and there’s been plenty. Moshiri hasn’t got a clue about the clubs fan base, especially the local ones, he’s finished…"
"Not my club any more. Unfollowed."
"No acknowledgement anywhere of the fans opposition to this decision. Why not own the decision and confront the reality that he isn't wanted head-on, rather than pretending it doesn't exist. The usual (and wrong) PR spiel about his success and his character isn't good enough."