According to the Daily Mail, Everton have won the race to sign highly-rated free agent Brazilian winger Bernard. The 25-year-old is set for a medical on Merseyside on Wednesday.
The Toffees also need a work permit for the diminutive Brazil international. However, that should not prove a problem as the playmaker holds dual Brazilian and Spanish nationality.
Highly impressive for Shakhtar Donetsk
What the midfielder lacks in height, he is 5ft 4, he makes up for in technical ability. The Brazilian international joined former club Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 for a fee in the region of £23million after impressing in his homeland.
Since then he has impressed with his dribbling ability, creativity and flair. The winger has scored 14 goals and produced 24 assists in the Ukrainian top-flight. Bernard’s football intelligence has played a key role in helping Shakhtar thrive under Portuguese boss Paulo Fonseca in the last few seasons.
His ability to switch positions with the other attacking players in the team has proven a vital factor in Fonseca’s success in Ukraine. Everton boss Silva also likes his team to play an attacking, pressing, high-tempo football, just like Fonseca.
Bernard reportedly impressed by Silva
According to reports, Bernard decided to snub interest from Chelsea and West Ham to join Everton. The main factor in joining the Merseysiders seems to be the aforementioned Silva.
Reports also suggest that Silva spoke to Bernard personally, and the former Hull boss impressed the Brazilian with what he had to say.
Bernard had long been linked with a move to the Premier League after impressing in both the Ukrainian top-flight and the Champions League last season. For Everton to sign the Brazilian star will be something of a coup, especially on a free transfer.
A shrewd bit of business
Everton have been accused of overspending in recent summers. The Toffees have spent big fees on the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson and most recently Richarlison. The majority of their big money signings have flopped.
However, if the Toffees do manage to complete this deal it will be a shrewd piece of business from Marco Silva and director of football Marcel Brands. They will be signing a highly-rated Brazilian international in his prime with no fee.
Granted, Bernard will be on massive wages. However, most players are on big wages in the Premier League. The Merseysiders certainly could not be criticised for giving the playmaker big wages.
The fact he is 25, means that even if his time at the club is not a massive success, the Toffees can sell him and they will make a big profit whatever the fee may be from the buying club.
This signing seems like a win-win for Everton. There is very little risk and lots to gain from signing such a talented footballer. Now if the Toffees only sign a centre-back in the next few days, the Merseysiders can consider the first window of the Silva-Brands reign a relative success.
Will Bernard be a good signing for Everton?