Everton eye shock move for influential Liverpool star Klopp loves; Brighton could scupper Dyche plot

Harry Watkinson
James-Milner-Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain

Despite Brighton being the favourites to sign Liverpool veteran James Milner, Everton have now joined the race for his signature, according to reports.

At the age of 37, the Englishman is, understandably, past his best, but is still getting chased by more than one Premier League club.

Although, Everton might not be in the top flight for much longer, as they find themselves embroiled in yet another relegation battle.

Indeed, the Toffees have a real chance of being relegated for the first time since 1951. Arguably, this would make them the biggest club to drop to the second tier since Manchester United in 1974.

Sean Dyche’s side currently sit second-bottom of the table after picking up just 29 points from 34 league games. Now, the former Burnley boss has just four matches to avoid the unthinkable.

However, the threat of relegation has not prevented Everton from identifying transfer targets behind the scenes. Indeed, according to 90min, the Blues are considering a rare raid on their Merseyside rivals for Milner.

Although, they are not the only team in the race – with Leeds, Nottingham Forest and, as mentioned, Brighton, all weighing up whether to sign him this summer.

Since joining Liverpool back in 2015, Milner has made 328 appearances across all competitions, scoring 26 goals and making 46 assists.

In that time, the England international has played a key role in helping the Reds to lift one Premier League title, a Champions League, an FA Cup and a League Cup.

Jurgen Klopp has also hailed Milner as one of the most important players in his squad, thanks to his influence as a ‘role model.’

“Milly is Milly, is incredibly important for us. People talk about the dressing room [influence] and yes, he is really helpful there,” Klopp told reporters last year.

“Especially with a manager who is not a native speaker.

“No [when asked if he’d met a fitter 37-year-old], but it would be interesting to look at Luka Modric – obviously, a good generation!

“It’s difficult to be fitter than Milly and he’s a role model.

“I told him and I can tell the whole world: Nothing we would have achieved in the last few years would have happened without James Milner, if he’s on the pitch or not.

“He sets the standards in a way a lot of people can set standards. Educated all of us.”

With that in mind, a player like Milner could be exactly what Everton need to rediscover their fading identity. However, with Brighton also interested in his signature, they will have to battle to get a deal done.

For now, though, the Toffees will be focused on avoiding relegation. Dyche has just four games against Brighton, Manchester City, Wolves and Bournemouth to turn his team’s fortunes around.

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