Major boost for Everton as they sign Barcelona star
Everton have confirmed the signing of Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu.
The 21-year-old has signed a three-year-contract - with the option of a further year - in a deal worth £4.2million.
Deulofeu impressed on loan at Goodison Park in the 2013-14 campaign but returned to his parent club and was subsequently loaned out again to Sevilla.
He has long been touted as one of Barcelona's next generation of stars but has failed to establish himself in first-team football either with the Catalan club or elsewhere and that is reflected in the purchase price.
However, for that reason Barcelona have protected themselves against losing one of their brightest young talents by insisting on a release clause within the first two years if they meet certain conditions and having the right of first refusal if Everton decide to sell the player.
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez, who had a good relationship with Deulofeu, has kept tabs on the youngster and moved quickly to make him his second signing of the summer after capturing out-of-contract Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley.
"Gerard needs no introduction to anyone here at Everton, for we are all well aware of his incredible footballing talent," Martinez told evertonfc.com.
"We got to know him really well from his loan period, not only as such a talented player but also his great character. He will be a fantastic asset to our club."
Deulofeu - a product of Barca's famed La Masia academy - made 29 appearances during his first stint with Everton, scoring on his debut in the Capital One Cup against Stevenage and going on to add three Premier League goals, including a memorable equaliser against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in December 2013.
Although he played a similar number of matches at Sevilla, scoring three times, his form tailed off towards the end of the season and he found himself on the bench for most of the run-in. He did not even make the squad for the club's Europa League final victory.
He accepted he had a more testing year than he had expected, writing on Instagram last month: "A tough and difficult year for me but perhaps it's also the year in which I've learned the most."
Martinez will hope to get more out of the player than managed by Sevilla coach Unai Emery, whose assessment was at best mixed.
"He has incredible qualities but lacks others. Put him out there, one on one and ... pfff," he told the Guardian last month.
"But make him play football with team-mates, on a big pitch, and it's hard. He doesn't have the maturity or capacity for sacrifice yet."