Connect with us


Will Demarai Gray prove himself the bargain of the summer?

Having spent over £500m on transfers over the last five seasons, Everton’s business has been on the leaner side of things this summer. Indeed, an underwhelming summer window at Goodison Park is summed up by the fact that at a price of just £1.8m Demarai Gray is the Toffees’ biggest signing so far.

It wasn’t just the modest price paid for Gray that had Everton fans sceptical of the 25-year-old’s signing. While the winger was once viewed as one of English football’s most exciting young talents, his career has stagnated recently. Now 25 years old, Gray is running out of time to fulfil the potential he showed as a youngster.

A move to the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen saw Gray compared to Jadon Sancho. The idea was that the former Leicester City wide man would receive more game time in Germany. However, Gray made just 10 league appearances in the second half of last season and returned to the Premier League having failed to make much of an impression at the Bay Arena.

At Everton, though, Demarai Gray has made an immediate impact. Of course, it’s still early days for him on Merseyside, but the 25-year-old has already scored his first goal in blue and appears to have earned the trust of Rafael Benitez, who has used him in Everton’s opening two Premier League fixtures of the new campaign.

Against Southampton on opening weekend, Gray was used in a central role behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the central striker. In this position, he showed a good understanding with Richarlison on the left and Andros Townsend on the right, recognising when to drop deep into midfield and when to break past Calvert-Lewin in attack.

Against Leeds United on Saturday, Gray started on the left side and scored the goal to put Everton back in front at 2-1. Benitez is getting more out of the winger than Brendan Rodgers ever did at Leicester City. Gray’s decision-making appears sharper than at any other stage of his career. He might finally be on course to become the player many believed he would be.

“It is an indication we have a player trying to do his best,” Benitez said after Everton’s 2-2 away draw against Leeds, which saw Demarai Gray find the back of the net. “At the same time, he is pushing the players around him, because the competition is good in each position. He has to improve, he knows he has to improve.

“But he can give us something different, like [Andros] Townsend gives us something different. And [Alex] Iwobi is working very hard for the team and being a threat. Gray and Townsend are giving us competition in the wide areas and that will only be positive for the team and the strikers.”

Everton find themselves in a strange position. They have the squad to compete for a top six finish, but lack coherence. This is something that Gray can offer with his fluidity and interchangeability in the attacking third. The 25-year-old might not be Everton’s most devastating match winner but his willingness to work hard and take on instructions could make him something of a favourite at Goodison Park.

Benitez has clearly placed an importance on the wide areas of his Everton team. While Demarai Gray might not have been the most glamorous signing, especially for a club that has spent as big as Everton have in recent years, the 25-year-old could prove to be an important figure for the Toffees this season, and in seasons to come.



You could earn up to £10 (or currency equivalent) in bonus funds by joining Colossus with our New Player Bonus. Click here to join the action.

Recent Posts