Everton are discussing a potential new contract with key midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye.
The 28-year-old, who joined from Aston Villa for a minimal fee last summer, has already made a huge impact on the Blues, becoming a vital figure for Ronald Koeman's squad.
Prior to the Europa League game at Goodison Park against Apollon Limassol on Thursday night, Koeman confirmed to the press that the Blues were in talks with the Senegal international over a new and improved deal, that both parties are keen to press on with.
Joining from Villa, Gueye signed a four-year contract and whilst he has plenty of time left on his current deal, the Blues are keen to reward the midfielder with a significant pay rise.
After an incredibly successful first season in which Gueye would have Player Of The Season honours for, had it not been for Romelu Lukaku, the 28-year-old began drawing interest from other sides but the blues were able to hold on to Gueye during the summer transfer window.
Yet to hit the same heights
Early into this new campaign, Gueye is yet to hit the heights of his initial season with the Blues but has shown flashes of last’s season influence coming to the forefront.
Gueye was a consistent performer for the Blues last season, even in defeats, the midfielder could be found battling and working hard until the full-time whistle.
Whilst he isn’t the only one struggling so far this season, much had been expected of Gueye coming into this new campaign and he had been expected to take the next step in his development.
Gueye’s defensive work isn’t at question, the midfielder is always buzzing around, making tackles and picking up loose balls but fans had hoped he’d add more to his game in an attacking sense.
Last season, Gueye scored his first goal in an Everton shirt and picked up a handful of assists whilst also getting into position to contribute on a regular basis, he just wasn’t able to find the net.
After finding the net in the Europa League qualifying stage, it’s something Koeman will be hoping for more of going forward this season.
Blues lacking midfield rotation
Although Gueye and his midfielder partner Morgan Schneiderlin are ever-present for the Blues, Everton have suffered injuries to players that can be rotated in for the pairing.
James McCarthy is in a constant fight to get back to full fitness and has suffered numerous setbacks in recent weeks.
Koeman didn’t want to let McCarthy’s partner Gareth Barry leave Everton but Barry himself said that he had to leave to play in the Premier League.
Whilst Ross Barkley could fill in at centre midfield, he’s out injured and his future with his boyhood club is still up in the air.