Demarai Gray has not featured for Everton in any of their opening Premier League matches this season, nor did he appear in any of their pre-season friendlies. He had been granted extra time to prepare for the season have spent a big part of the summer representing Jamaica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, his time at Goodison Park may be coming to an end.
With Everton failing to hit the back of the net in their opening games, both of which resulted in defeat, Gray is an offensive player that boss Sean Dyche would surely like to call upon to try and address the lack of goals. That is unlikely to be the case for much longer as there, as there is a club which is closing in on his signature, assuming he wants this particular move.
It has been reported by transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano that Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab have verbally agreed a deal with Everton over the signing of Gray. They have started the Saudi Pro League campaign with a draw and a defeat, and manager Marcel Keizer is looking to add to his overseas signing, which includes Habib Diallo from Strasbourg and Colombian international Gustavo Cuellar.
Whilst it would appear that both Everton and Al Shabab have come to an arrangement, there is still a pretty big part of the equation which could still deny this move happened at all. Of course, that is the player. Does Gray even want to make the move? Would he want to fight for his place at Everton? Maybe try and sign for another Premier League club?
The financial aspect of the deal will obviously be appealing, but Al Shabab seemingly aren't in the same bracket as some of the other clubs in Saudi Arabia. With respect, they've not been signing the type of mega superstars which have joined other teams in the league. The likes of Neymar, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and co. aren't the calibre of individual Al Shabab have been signing. Gray is also not in the same league of those players in terms of quality, too.
Nevertheless, he may view this move as a possible stepping stone to bigger and better things. More eyes are turning to football in this part of the world, and impressing with this team could lead to perhaps another switch further up the league. On the other hand, The Athletic reported earlier this month that Fulham were keen on the player, but talk of that possible switch has since gone quiet.
It was even reported he agreed personal terms with Fulham, but perhaps hearing of interest from Saudi Arabia forced him to think again? One thing does look pretty certain, and that is his time at Everton is very likely to be coming to an end. He hasn't necessarily be a regular since Dyche came in as manager, and as this point in his career the time may be right for a change.
Gray has been a Toffees player for the last two years, only managing nine goals in 67 Premier League appearances since making the switch from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen. The time may just be right for him to now move onto the next chapter of his career, but will that be in the Saudi Pro League? Time will tell.
As mentioned, Everton have started the new Premier League season with back-to-back defeats. The club will therefore rather be looking to add offensive players to their squad as opposed to losing some. Two recent offensive recruits that has boosted Dyche's squad have been Jack Harrison and Youssef Chermiti from Leeds United and Sporting CP respectively.