Everton exploring transfer for Aston Villa starlet

Everton are understood to be exploring a deal for Aston Villa midfielder Tim Iroegbunam.

The 20-year-old midfielder has struggled for playing time in the Midlands and the ECHO undertstands Villa are open to his exit this summer.

Interest from the Blues comes amid uncertainty over the future of Amadou Onana and with Everton set to lose options in the middle with Andre Gomes and young central midfielder Lewis Warrington departing when their contracts expire.

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Iroegbunam, who developed through the academy at West Bromwich Albion, signed for Villa in July 2021. The following year he enjoyed a breakthrough senior season on loan at QPR in which he emerged as a key player for the Championship club. He has experienced Premier League football with Villa but has found serious opportunities tough to come by - even with Unai Emery needing to rely on his squad amid a congested end to the season that saw them qualify for the Champions League but lose in the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League.

With Villa expected to reinforce their midfield over the summer, chances are set to remain limited for Iroegbunam - leaving Villa willing to listen to offers. Everton’s financial position means funds are limited, particularly before the deadline for league spending rules at the end of the month. But Villa’s openness for a deal does mean there is potential for one to be done this summer. As a young player with talent to develop, Iroegbunam fits into the profile of player director of football Kevin Thelwell has identified as key to Everton’s long-term strategy.

He would also offer strength in depth in a position Everton struggled to find cover for last season - particularly during January when injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations led to just one recognised senior centre midfielder, James Garner, starting at Fulham. The departure of Gomes in particular will make seeking reinforcements in the middle a useful ambition.