Everton have completed the signing of 21-year-old midfielder James Garner on a permanent deal from Manchester United worth an initial £9m plus add-ons.
Garner, who was actually born in Merseyside but joined the youth ranks at United from the age of eight, has signed a four-year contract with the Toffees until the summer of 2026. United will retain a sell-on clause.
“I’m made up to sign for Everton. It’s a huge step in my career and I want to help the team get better while progressing as a player,” Garner told Everton's website. “I think Everton is the perfect place to do that. I can’t wait to get started.
“The manager [Frank Lampard] has got a real plan for the Club and for me. Working with him on a daily basis is major for me. Him and his staff can take me and the team to the next level. That’s what I’m hoping for.
“I know how passionate Evertonians are. I'm passionate myself and the sort of player who feeds off the crowd. I know what the fans are like so I think I'll be a good fit.
“I’m a box-to-box midfielder who can play in different roles and can support in defence and attack. I like to support with goals and assists but can do the hard work, too, which is equally important.
“I feel like I can bring real energy to the team - it is something that Everton definitely demands and I can add that in abundance. I have got quality as well so hopefully I can be a big part of us having a good season.”
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Garner made his first-team debut at United aged just 17 in 2019 and drew early comparisons with Old Trafford legend Michael Carrick. But it has been on loan in the Championship in recent seasons where he has properly established himself.
The youngster first joined Watford in the summer of 2020, playing regularly for the Hornets in the second tier until a change of manager took the team in a new direction. He then completed that season at Nottingham Forest, before returning to the City Ground again in 2021/22.
In total, Garner played 69 games for Forest and was a major part of the club’s first promotion back to the Premier League after 23 years out of the top flight.