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Everton bring back Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu for keeps

Everton (11/4 with Coral for a top 10 finish) have announced the ambitious signing of Barcelona star Gerard Deulofeu on a three-year deal for a reported £4.3m.

The wily Spanish winger arrives on a permanent deal, returning again to Goodison Park after spending a successful season on loan with the Merseysiders in 2013/14, when the Toffees finished an impressive fifth in the Premier League.

Still aged just 21, the Catalonia-born wideman joined La Masia at nine years old and progressed through the Barca ranks to make his senior debut for the Spanish giants in 2011.

Dangerous Deulofeu has made just six outings for the Nou Camp club, however, but impressed with his eye for goal in Barcelona B, where the young-gun struck 27 times in 68 appearances. However, the flank threat has so far failed to transfer that potency to the big stage.

Having struggled on loan to Europa League champions Sevilla last term, Deulofeu still showed in flashes why he is so highly-rated, contributing 10 assists across all competitions to the Bathtubs’ cause.

Treble winners Barca have little space in their star-studded squad to develop the talented but inconsistent wideman, and were believed to be ready to farm out their attacking prodigy on a temporary stint once again, though Deulofeu has opted to return to Everton (14/1 for a top four finish) instead.

Under Toffees tactician Roberto Martinez, Deulofeu thrived and will be aiming to recapture his previous form. Everton already have the likes of Aiden McGeady, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar on their books, but further guile and attacking thrust is needed out wide.

Deulofeu’s excellent acquisition certainly fits with the Northwest side’s recent policy of procuring exciting and determined young players, having already snapped up another impressive former loanee in striker Romelu Lukaku last summer for a record fee, though this signing also represents fantastic value.

Capped once by Spain already, Deulofeu has taken a brave step by leaving Barca and will be hoping his boldness and quest for stability and regular game time attracts Vicente del Bosque’s attention again. Barcelona’s rumoured buy-back option is also reported to last for three of Deulofeu’s four-year deal, ensuring the Catalan kings will not allow their academy graduate to slip through the net.