Everton set for Jack Harrison transfer talks as Leeds United miss out on Premier League promotion

Jack Harrison arrives at Goodison Park during his loan spell with Everton
-Credit: (Image: Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

Everton will enter talks with Leeds United hoping that the 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the Championship play-off final boosts their chances of signing Jack Harrison on a permanent deal as Adam Armstrong’s 24th minute strike earned an instant Premier League return for the Saints.

Although there was neither an obligation or option to buy Harrison from Leeds United in his season-long loan deal at Goodison Park, Blues chiefs’ hand could now be strengthened by the fact that the Yorkshire club will be unable to offer him Premier League football next term.

With a clause in his contract that allowed him to be loaned out following Leeds’ relegation a year ago, when Abdoulaye Doucoure’s goal gave Everton the victory they required against Bournemouth on the final day to avoid the drop for the first time in 72 years, the Stoke-on-Trent-born player subsequently arrived on Merseyside on August 14 despite a late attempt from Aston Villa to try and hijack the deal.

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Harrison, who moved to the USA as a teenager, playing college soccer for Wake Forest Demon Deacons before becoming the number 1 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft for New York City FC, returned to England with their sister club Manchester City two years later but never played a first-team game. He had loan spells with Middlesbrough and Leeds, signing permanently for the latter in 2021 for an £11million fee.

The 27-year-old made 35 appearances in total for Sean Dyche’s men this season, scoring four goals. He missed the final two fixtures with a hamstring injury but ahead of their last game at Arsenal, the Blues announced they would continue dialogue with Leeds over his future when the Yorkshire club’s current Championship play-off campaign is completed.

While Everton’s chances of bringing Harrison back could be strengthened by Daniel Farke’s side’s defeat at Wembley, the Elland Road outfit could conversely now be braced for bids for a couple of their other wide men, Wilfried Gnonto and Championship Player of the Season Crysencio Summerville, who were both understood to be on the Blues’ radar last summer. If they were to lose one or both of this pair then Leeds might dig their heels in over Harrison, who still has another four years to run on his contract with them.

With the long-running takeover saga still unresolved, funds remain tight at Goodison Park, with director of football Kevin Thelwell admitting players will be sold, and Everton might have to wait until later in the summer transfer window before they can calculate just what funds they might be able to allocate on Harrison.