June 25, 2015 14:54:43 UK
Everton have confirmed Gerard Deulofeu is to return to Goodison Park on a permanent basis after agreeing a £4.2million deal with Barcelona.
The 21-year-old was one of the Toffees’ standout players during his year-long loan stint on Merseyside during the 2013-14 season.
The winger made 29 appearances during his previous spell with Everton, scoring four times, before returning to the Nou Camp where he hoped his form in the Premier League would earn him a spot in the Barcelona first-team squad.
However, it was not to be as the Catalan giants sent Deulofeu on loan to Sevilla for the 2014-15 season.
Deulofeu, who has represented Spain at senior international level, struggled in Seville and spent much of the campaign on the sidelines before the Andalusian club decided not to take up the option to sign him on a permanent basis.
The attacker has now opted to re-join Everton, turning down lucrative offers from elsewhere to sign a three-year contract, with the option of an extra year. Barcelona have inserted a buy-back clause in Deulofeu’s contract.
Deulofeu is Everton’s second signing of the summer following the capture of Tom Cleverley on a free transfer and manager Roberto Martinez is delighted to have the Spaniard back on Merseyside.
“We are getting an even more mature player now than he was a couple of seasons ago and a player who considers Everton as home,” Martinez told evertonfc.com.
“This is why we are incredibly excited to have him back here on a permanent basis and to encourage him to grow, develop and mature his enormous talent.
“It was always our intention to work extremely hard behind the scenes to get some really good business done early on during the transfer window.
“Our objective was to secure Tom and Gerard as quickly as we could and I’m really pleased this is exactly what we’ve done.
“Having done this now, we will have more time over the remainder of the window to carry on strengthening our squad, which is already strong, and we will use this time ahead of us well.”
After a disappointing 2014/15 season, Everton will be eager to get back in the fight for European places.
The Toffees are 3.75 to finish in the top six this season, with local rivals Liverpool 1.36 and Tottenham 1.57.
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