Everton have launched what promises to be the biggest spending spree in the club’s history by signing Jordan Pickford from Sunderland for a record fee that could rise to £30m.
The goalkeeper signed a five-year contract after Everton moved swiftly to secure their first-choice option for the manager, Ronald Koeman.
A £25m fee, which is expected to reach £30m, was agreed with Sunderland, representing a record sum for Everton and making the 23-year-old the most expensive British goalkeeper.
The England Under-21 international had wanted to delay a decision on his future until after the European Championship, which begins for Aidy Boothroyd’s side against Sweden on Friday, but Everton wasted no time in completing the deal for a coveted player.
Arsenal had also been linked with the boyhood Sunderland fan, the club’s most saleable asset after relegation to the Championship.
Pickford becomes the third most expensive goalkeeper of all time. Only Ederson, who this month joined Manchester City from Benfica, and Juventus’s Gianluigi Buffon have moved in that position for higher fees.
Pickford told Everton’s website: “Last season was my first in the Premier League so to get this opportunity with Everton now, to be able to go forward with my career and show everyone what I can do with Everton is unbelievable. It’s a great club, a massive club and I think it’s a great opportunity and the right time for me to come to Everton and show what I can do.”
Koeman was anxious to sign a new No1 following indifferent campaigns from Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg last season. Pickford is likely to be the first of several acquisitions by Everton this summer.
Davy Klaassen, the Ajax captain, could be the next arrival, with Everton close to a deal worth around £25m with the Europa League finalists for the playmaker.
The club are awaiting a decision from Málaga’s striker Sandro Ramírez, who held talks with club officials on Sunday, and the Burnley defender Michael Keane and Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson are also in Everton’s sights.
Koeman said he was sure Pickford would prove to be a “significant signing”.
He said: “Jordan is a very talented young professional who also has a real hunger for success and that’s important for us as we now look to make further progress in the seasons ahead.”
By Andy Hunter for the Guardian