Transfer News: Everton, West Ham United vying for Jonathan Ikone

Everton and West Ham United are reportedly interested in acquiring the services of LOSC Lille forward Jonathan Ikone, who is also on the radars of AC Milan.

According to a report from Calciomercato, West Ham United are set to go head-to-head with Premier League rivals Everton to sign LOSC Lille and France attacker Jonathan Ikone.

The 23-year-old started at the academy of AS Bondy before making the switch to the youth setup of Paris Saint-Germain in 2010. Ikone grew through the ranks in Paris and made his first-team breakthrough in 2016 before being sent out on a couple of loan spells to Montpellier. He managed just seven senior appearances for Les Parisiens before switching to Lille in 2018 in search of regular game-time.

Since joining Les Dogues, Ikone has been a regular in the side and has racked up 142 appearances thus far, bagging 16 goals and 25 assists in the process. The versatile forward, who can play on either flank, as a No. 9 or even as an auxiliary striker, also has four caps for the French national team, in which he has scored one goal.

Ikone was an integral part of the Lille side that surprised everyone to lift the Ligue 1 title last season. Following his exploits in the previous campaign, there had been an interest in his services from the Premier League in the summer, but nothing materialised. However, the 23-year-old is attracting suitors again, with Everton and West Ham now set to contest for his signing.

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Everton have been in the market for reinforcements in the attacking unit as they look to address their overreliance on the star duo of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. While new signings Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have performed admirably, there is room for another forward in the ranks.

And someone like Ikone, who can fill multiple positions in the final third, would be a wise addition, considering that he can play out wide or up top while also potentially operating in the attacking midfield role left vacant by James Rodriguez’s departure. However, the Toffees will need to stave off competition from their former manager David Moyes, who is seeking a forward for his West Ham side.

The Hammers have no viable centre-forward option in the ranks beyond Michail Antonio, leading to links to numerous strikers ahead of the January window. Most recently, Spartak Moscow’s Jordan Larsson has been touted as a target for the east London outfit, with Ikone also now emerging as an option for West Ham. 

While the 23-year-old is not a prolific goalscorer, his pace and physicality can make him a handy alternative for Antonio in attack. His versatility would add more options and tactical flexibility for the manager. Ikone’s contract runs out in 2023, which would mean he can be available for a bargain price next year.

It remains to be seen if either Everton or West Ham make an approach to sign him in the future or are beaten to the punch by AC Milan, who are also in the race for Ikone’s capture.

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