Everton have beaten off competition from Aston Villa to complete the loan signing of winger Jack Harrison from Leeds United in a deal that includes an option for the Toffees to buy the 26-year-old permanently.
Harrison joined Leeds from Man City in 2018 on loan initially before sealing a permanent switch to Elland Road in 2021 for £11m and the flanksman eventually scored 34 times in 205 appearances for the Yorkshireman.
Despite Leeds’s relegation from the Premier League last term, Harrison still managed to chip in with an impressive five goals and seven assists in 35 top flight starts, and Everton will hope the wide midfielder can bring some of his productivity to Merseyside.
Where will Jack Harrison fit in at Everton?
With Jack Harrison expected to be on the sidelines for another month due to a hip injury, Everton supporters will have to wait a while to see him in action, though the schemer could be deployed in one of several different positions when he does make his bow in blue.
Last weekend, Everton boss Sean Dyche set his Toffees up in a 4-4-1-1 formation in their 1-0 loss to Fulham – a set-up that Harrison could slot into in quite a few different areas.
Against the Cottagers, Alex Iwobi was fielded on the left flank and performed well, lodging four shots and completing three dribbles, though the ex-Arsenal man could have real competition for that role when left-sided specialist Harrison is fit.
However, the versatile Iwobi could just as easy switch to the opposite side instead of James Garner, who struggled to make an impact in an unfamiliar position against Fulham.
Alternatively, if Dyche decides to keep Iwobi and Garner out wide left and right respectively, clever creator Harrison could enjoy surfing the spaces between opponent’s defensive lines as a number ten in place of Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Harrison averaged 1.5 key passes per game for Leeds in the league last season while Doucoure managed just 0.9 of them per 90 for Everton over the same period.
Harrison’s sharper eye for a defence-splitting pass could make him a more potent weapon for the Toffees in the final third than any of their current options and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in particular – when the striker is fit and firing – could benefit from Harrison’s pinpoint through balls and crosses.
Everton to raid Leeds again?
Alongside the capture of Jack Harrison, Everton boss Sean Dyche also has an eye on another livewire Leeds forward and Wilfried Gnonto could be the next player to swap Elland Road for Goodison Park.
Leeds are currently taking a hard line with their wantaway Italian, who refused to play for the Yorkshire-based club in their recent fixtures in an attempt to force a move through.
Leeds have taken disciplinary action for the time being, however, there is little use in keeping a player who so forcibly wants to leave and a parting of the ways might suit all parties, albeit for the right fee.
Everton are also rumoured to be lining up a deal for Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy. The stopper currently plays second fiddle at the Saints behind Gavin Bazunu, though he would have to accept a similar bench role behind England international Jordan Pickford if he makes the move north.