Everton swoop for Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon
Published 01/09/2015 | 09:29
Everton have completed the signing of Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on a three-year contract.
The 28-year-old returns to Goodison Park on a permanent deal after spending the second half of last season on loan.
Despite manager Roberto Martinez's interest in the winger, the move was finalised after the deadline after Everton filed a deal sheet with the Premier League just before 6pm announcing their intention to sign the player, giving them a further two hours to complete the formalities.
"We are delighted to welcome Aaron back to Everton," manager Roberto Martinez told evertonfc.com.
"We know we are getting a player our fans know inside-out.
"He had a major role in the second half of our season and we're looking forward to Aaron kicking on and continuing to enjoy his football, as well as being the productive player we know he can be.
"He is well-respected in the dressing room, his experience in the Premier League is immense and he will immediately add to our squad and to the ambition we have as a club."
Despite Lennon's arrival, Everton's transfer business has left fans distinctly underwhelmed.
The arrival earlier in the day of River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori filled one of the slots Martinez was targeting, although the fee of £9.5million was £4m more than was touted last week when the 24-year-old Argentinian came to England to finalise the move.
However, the Everton manager's search for a player who could operate in the number 10 role proved fruitless and appears to have left the squad light in terms of options.
But Mori's acquisition at least eases one problem for Martinez, having allowed Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz to leave at the end of last season.
"When I heard about Everton's interest, I didn't think twice. My agent told me about this opportunity and Everton did everything to bring me over and I wanted to come," the player, who was at Everton's home match with Manchester City just over a week ago, told evertontv.
"I feel happy because the people here have shown me a lot of love and I'm very happy and comfortable here already.
"I saw the people at Goodison Park and I saw they were a family and all cheering the players and obviously I liked that atmosphere.
"Hopefully I can fit straight into the group, we can get along and do big things here."
Mori provides Martinez with some much-needed cover for John Stones and Jagielka at centre-back, with youngster Brendan Galloway, currently sidelined with a knee injury which has forced him to withdraw from the England Under-21s squad, offering a fourth option.
"I'm delighted for many reasons. Firstly, the player we are welcoming into the dressing room fits the profile we need," Martinez told evertontv.
"He is a left-footed centre-half - a really good defender who is exceptional in the air with good quality. He will give us great balance in the back-four.
"Then you have got the personality and character of a winner . He has just won the Copa Libertadores with River Plate, which is the equivalent of the Champions League in South America.
"You don't get that sort of player, at the age of 24 who has just been called up for Argentina, becoming available.
"We have made a massive effort and it is a fee that reflects the value and the ambition that we have as a football club to attract such an exciting player for the future."
Everton's business has been minimal this summer, with young defender Mason Holgate acquired from Barnsley for about £1m and 22-year-old Uruguayan striker Leandro Rodriguez joining from River Plate Montevideo.
His biggest challenge was fending off sustained interest from Chelsea and a transfer request from Stones.
A third bid in excess of £30m was turned down and chairman Bill Kenwright made a strong public statement insisting the young England international was not for sale, and the club have, at least, managed to hold on to one of their prized assets.
Away from transfers, left-back Bryan Oviedo has withdrawn from the Costa Rica squad for friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay because of a knee injury.
The 25-year-old will remain on Merseyside for treatment rather than join up with his international team-mates and is expected to be out for around 10 days.