Everton completed the late transfer of Alex Iwobi from Arsenal more than two hours after the transfer window closed on Thursday night having refused to meet Crystal Palace’s £100m valuation of Wilfried Zaha. Iwobi is Everton’s seventh summer arrival and has signed a five-year contract with the Goodison Park club, with the fee for the Nigeria international which could reach £35m ensuring the Premier League set a new spending record of more than £1.4bn.
Everton switched their sights to Iwobi late in the transfer window having been frustrated in their long-running attempt to seal a club record deal for Zaha. Silva was determined to inject more pace into his attack this summer but Everton and Palace were poles apart in their valuation of the Ivory Coast forward. Palace rejected a £52m bid from Everton on 28 July and Zaha’s suitors later issued a statement claiming that was “the end of the matter”. Everton maintained their interest, however, and discussed an improved offer during negotiations over James McCarthy’s £3m move to Selhurst Park. They were prepared to pay up to £60m for Zaha, who turns 27 in November, but did not submit a formal second offer given Palace’s hardline stance.
Steve Parish, the Palace chairman, insisted it would take £100m to secure Zaha and the club’s resolve not to sell hardened when Ismaïla Sarr, a possible replacement, joined Watford from Rennes on deadline day. Everton, who had a £30m bid for Iwobi rejected by Arsenal on Wednesday, then intensified efforts to secure their alternative option.