Everton join race for Burnley winger Dwight McNeil

Dwight McNeil celebrates his goal against Everton last seasonDwight McNeil celebrates his goal against Everton last season
Dwight McNeil celebrates his goal against Everton last season
Reports on Merseyside suggest Everton have joined the race for Burnley's England Under 21 wideman Dwight McNeil.

Aston Villa continue to be linked with a move for the Clarets' crown jewel, but had yet to make their interest formal as of earlier this month https://www.burnleyexpress.net/sport/football/aston-villa-yet-to-make-their-move-for-burnley-winger-dwight-mcneil-but-villans-would-have-competition-for-england-under-21-ace-3301857 as they looked to prise forward Emile Smith-Rowe away from Arsenal.

But, with Villa having two bids for Smith-Rowe turned down - the last thought to be worth around £30m - and Gunners boss Mikel Arteta stating he will "100 per cent be staying in north London", Villa are looking at other options.

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However, as Express Sport reported earlier this month, the Villans would face competition for McNeil’s signature, and it appears the Toffees are keen, as they look to improve the supply line to England striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored the most headed goals in the Premier League last season with seven, including one against the Clarets at Goodison Park, in a game McNel lit up with a goal of the season contender.

Rafa Benitez is close to securing deals for wingers Andros Townsend, on a free transfer from Crystal Palace, and former Leicester man Demarai Gray, for £1.5m from Bayer Leverkusen, and could also move for McNeil as well.

However, Burnley would demand a fee in excess of the £25m record Everton paid to secure Michael Keane four years ago, with the player identified as the Clarets’ biggest asset – with the CIES Football Observatory’s algorithm valuing the player at between €50-70m, or £43-60m, representing 35.3% of the club’s entire estimated transfer value.

The player himself is happy to stay at Turf Moor, only signing a new deal in October, as he said in April: “I have loved the club ever since I have been here and I know the manager and the lads so well.

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"I know the team we have and I am comfortable and have played a lot of football and have enjoyed my football the most at Burnley."

And on his contract extension, he added: "I had a talk with my dad and my family and we came to the conclusion that the best decision, the right decision, was to sign another contract and have that reassurance of being part of a team and having that establishment within the team.

"The gaffer calls it (transfer speculation) 'outside noise' and we didn't hear anything. It was a simple answer for me and the family to sign a new contract with the club.

"I know all the players so well and what they think of me as a player and a person. It's such a good team to be a part of and that's another reason that made it so easy to sign the contract in the summer - with the team we have here and the management."