Everton could sign their own Bukayo Sako as club linked with exciting Ligue 1 talent

Everton target Dango Ouattara sits among an elite list of young stars.

Everton are being linked with a move for exciting Lorient winger Dango Ouattara, who has begun the season in fine form, but they face stiff competition from multiple Premier League sides.

With the Toffees languishing at the wrong end of the table for the second season running, the January window could be make-or-break for their hopes of survival.

Transfer target Ouattara has already registered five goals and five assists in just 16 league appearances in his breakout season in Ligue 1. The 20-year-old’s performances and form have transformed completely from his first campaign in senior football last year, where he only started seven league games in total, managing two goals and two assists in all competitions.

Moreover, his form has seen him rub shoulders with some of the best young talents across Europe’s top five leagues. His five goals and five assists puts him joint fourth with Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko for the most goal contributions from players U21 (born in 2001 or later).

Above Ouattara on the list is Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, Arsenal-loanee Folarin Balogun and then two of the standout talents in European football this season - Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala.

Leeds United and Leicester City have also been linked with a move, but leading the race is Bournemouth, who seemingly hold all the cards after it was revealed their owner – Bill Foley – is on the verge of completing a majority takeover of Ouattara’s club. This was reaffirmed by the Athletic who revealed the South-West club have opened talks with the player.

This could prove to be a major stumbling block for Everton, given Foley’s influence, which could be a source of great frustration given it would be a financially viable deal if the Merseyside club could infiltrate Bournemouth’s current position.

Ouattara has 18 months left on his current deal and valued at around €10m - a palatable fee given the current financial situation and issues with their board. Considering his all-round stats, he would be a shrewd addition.

FBref’s statistics also reveal that Ouattara is not just an attacking force, capable of beating a man, finding a pass or the back of the net - he also has a high defensive work-rate.

He ranks between the 92nd– 99th percentiles for all forwards in Europe’s top five leagues for blocks, clearances, aerials won, interceptions and tackles – that’s certainly an invaluable characteristic for teams who press from the front.

Statistically, he is comparbale to the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Ligue 1 goal-machine Martin Terrier.