Sean Dyche has said Everton had to move for Youssef Chermiti before he became unaffordable and that the £15m deal shows the financial reality at Goodison Park.
Chermiti, a 19-year-old striker, is close to joining Everton from Sporting for an initial £12m plus £3m add-ons. The Portugal Under-19 international will become Everton’s third summer signing and the first to cost a fee in a window that Dyche described as challenging.
Everton remain in the market for more experienced forwards including Leeds’s Wilfried Gnonto and PSG’s Hugo Ekitike. But the signing of Chermiti, who has scored three goals in 16 appearances for Sporting, underlines that Dyche must develop young talent to improve the club’s prospects of avoiding another relegation struggle.
The Everton manager said: “If he was six years older and had scored 100 goals then he wouldn’t be coming in at the level he’s coming in at. There is a reality. There are other players we are still in for that would be an older and more experienced version but the market doesn’t just supply you with everything you need – right age, right time, right money. You’ve also got to buy the ones who you think you can develop and improve for the mid and longer term.”
Dyche has also added the loanee Arnaut Danjuma to a strikeforce that struggled for goals last season, although he has missed out on several targets. Danjuma and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are short of match fitness before Saturday’s Premier League opener against Fulham.
“I was under no other impression when I got here than: ‘It is not going to be a walk in the park,’” Dyche said. “There is a lot of management, a lot of different things. They talk about head coaches nowadays but there are more things here that are head coach and management, not just head coach. I knew it when I came in here and the probable situation of where the club are going financially. You’ve got to be realistic. I can’t talk about the need for realism and not be realistic myself.”
Fulham are one of several clubs interested in Demarai Gray, and Amadou Onana also has suitors, but Dyche insists he is not under pressure to sell to buy. He said: “It’s only if we think it’s the right deal to do or the right business for the club.”