Everton 'close to making Gray and Townsend' Benitez's first signings

Everton ‘on the brink of signing wingers Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend’ as Rafa Benitez closes in on his first new arrivals since his controversial move to Goodison Park

  • Rafa Benitez is aiming to bring his first signings to Everton since joining the club
  • The Toffees want to bring in Demarai Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for £1.5m
  • Former Crystal Palace star Andros Townsend is could also join on a free transfer  
  • Benitez is looking to build a squad from the ashes of Carlo Ancelotti’s stint 

Rafa Benitez’s first priority is strengthening Everton out wide, closing-in on making wingers Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend his first Toffees signings. 

The former Liverpool boss has controversially replaced Carlo Ancelotti in the Goodison dugout, and is setting about building his squad on Merseyside.  

Benitez will look to better the Italian’s 10th place finish in 2020-21, and is looking towards two stars with Premier League experience for help. 

Bayer Leverkusen winger Damarai Gray is moving close to joining Everton this summer 

He could be joined by Andros Townsend, who is a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace 

The Spaniard wants to bring some depth on the flanks, with the Times reporting that Gray is close to being signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £1.5m, while Townsend is in talks over a free transfer after leaving Crystal Palace. 

Gray only left Leicester City in January in a deal of around £3m, but only managed a single goal and five starts for the Bundesliga outfit. 

The 25-year-old has a Premier League title and 133 top-flight appearances to his name but is yet to realise his early potential, having caught the eye in Birmingham City’s academy, much like Jude Bellingham a few years later.  

Townsend is a familiar face for Benitez, albeit having taken charge of the winger for only two months during his doomed Newcastle spell. 

The pair look set to become Rafa Bentiez’s first signings since arriving at Goodison Park 

Both men with bring good Premier League experience, with Gray a title winner with Leicester 

The former England international spent a half-season on-loan with the Magpies in 2016, and started every game after the Spaniard’s appointment. 

The 30-year-old – who appeared on BBC Sport for punditry during Euro 2020 – boasts a career of 243 appearances, and could be a valuable member of the Toffees’ squad. 

Benitez’s next priority looks set to be between the sticks, nearing the signing of Asmir Begovic from Championship side Bournemouth. 

The former Chelsea, Yeovil, AC Milan and Qarabag keeper will provide solid backup for England hero Jordan Pickford. 

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