Ramiro Funes Mori departs Everton for Villarreal

Ramiro Funes Mori departs Everton for Villarreal

The defender has left Everton for Spain.

Connor Bennett

Ramiro Funes Mori has joined Villarreal from Everton in the first part of what should be the Blues’ attempt at a big summer clear-out.

The Argentine defender, 27, departs the club on a four-year-deal and for an undisclosed fee after spending the majority of the last campaign sidelined with a knee injury.

Mori returned under former boss Sam Allardyce as a second-half substitute in the draw with Swansea City, replacing Yannick Bolasie.

The 27-year-old went on to make a further three appearances to close out the Premier League season.

He is the first departure of the summer window with plenty more expected as new boss Marco Silva and new Director of Football Marcel Brands begin turning around an over-inflated Everton squad.

Wayne Rooney had been expected to be the first sale as his deal with MLS Side DC United continues to be up in the air.

The Blues are hoping to cut down on the wage bill with players on big pay packets off the pitch and underperforming on it expected to be the main targets to be sold.

Funes Mori’s fellow defender Ashley Williams is expected to depart at some point this summer as Silva and Brands eye a defensive back-line of their own.

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World Cup missed

Mori joined Everton from homeland club River Plate in 2015 under former boss Roberto Martinez for a fee of £9.5 million. He finished his career with the Blues netting five goals, including a vital finish against Manchester City in the League Cup.

He did manage a handful of appearances for Everton’s Under-23s and was named in an Argentina friendly squad for Jorge Sampaoli’s side back in March.

Funes did not play a part in his home nation’s 2-0 win over Italy at the Etihad Stadium but did play in the 6-1 defeat to Spain in Madrid.

He was then named in Sampaoli’s provisional World Cup squad but was not named in the final 23-man squad that headed for Russia.