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Everton in pole position to sign Boulaye Dia

Everton have overtaken AC Milan and Fiorentina in a transfer tug-of-war as Salernitana ace Boulaye Dia prepares for a high-profile move.

According to Corriere dello Sport, the Toffees hold the upper hand over the two interested Italian parties as Neal Maupay intrigues Granata CEO Morgan De Sanctis.

Dia went from strength to strength in his maiden Serie A season in 2022/23, racking up 16 goals and six assists after joining Salernitana from Villarreal on loan last summer.

Seduced by the Senegalese forward’s prolificacy and overall contribution to their successful survival battle, the Salerno outfit paid the Spaniards €12 million to sign Dia permanently at the end of last season.

However, a €25m release clause embedded in his contract at the Stadio Arechi is active by Thursday, handing his suitors a tight timeframe to lure him away from Paulo Sousa’s ranks.

Otherwise, they would have to deal with Salernitana’s substantial €40m valuation of the 26-year-old.

Although no club has come forward to trigger Dia’s termination clause yet, Everton are reportedly in the driver’s seat, courtesy of the Italian club’s interest in Maupay.

De Sanctis would be inclined to accept the unsettled Toffees forward as a makeweight in negotiations to take Dia to Goodison Park, making the Merseyside clear-cut favourites to win the race.

After helping Everton survive a dramatic relegation fight in the Premier League last season, Sean Dyche wants to build a squad to his taste, starting with revamping his attacking options.

Out-of-favour forward Demarai Gray could soon fall victim to Dyche’s reconstruction, with Crystal Palace accelerating their quest to put him out of his Everton misery.

With Gray out of the way, Dia could quench the Toffees’ thirst for a new attacker.

Goalscoring difficulties were Everton’s Achilles heel last season.

Their wasteful tally of 31 goals was only bettered Wolverhampton Wanderers’ league-low record of 34, highlighting the importance of increasing Dyche’s firepower.

Dia was a beast for Salernitana last term, but whether he is a suitable profile to address the Toffees’ woes in the front third is open for debate.

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