James Tarkowski: Everton to win race to sign Burnley defender

Tarkowski is expected to complete his Everton move this week.
Tarkowski is expected to complete his Everton move this week. / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Everton are set to win the race to sign James Tarkowski, who is now due on Merseyside for a medical, 90min can confirm.

The 29-year-old's current deal with Burnley expires at the end of June, with the centre-back available to sign on a free transfer this summer.

With the Clarets suffering relegation from the Premier League, it was always likely Tarkowski would leave Turf Moor. As revealed by 90min in May, Everton topped a group of clubs interested in the two-time England international, sitting ahead of the likes of Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Leicester City in the running.

A source informed 90min that Everton offered Tarkowski a far more lucrative deal than any other club, with the former Brentford man top of Frank Lampard's wish-list. By contrast, Tarkowski was only ever a back-up option for the other interested parties.

90min understands Tarkowski has accepted Everton's offer and is due for a medical, with the club keen to complete the deal as soon as this week.

Why are Everton signing James Tarkowski?

Lampard's desire to land Tarkowski is understandable. The Toffees only secured their Premier League status with a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace in the penultimate game of the season and conceded 66 goals across 2021/22 - only Southampton (67), Watford (77), Leeds United (79) and Norwich City (84) allowed more.

Yerry Mina was arguably Everton's best option at centre-back but played just 13 Premier League matches this season. 90min understands that defensive partner Michael Keane is one of a number of players Everton would be happy to let go if a suitable offer is tabled.

Tarkowski, meanwhile, ranked in the top three per cent of centre-backs across Europe's top five leagues when it came to blocks, aerial duels won, clearances and touches in the opposition box last season. The Manchester-born defender has missed just 15 matches across the last four Premier League seasons combined.

James Tarkowski's 2021/22 Premier League stats:

  • Clearances: 216 (1st)
  • Shots blocked: 61 (1st)
  • Aerial duels won: 171 (2nd)
  • Yellow cards: 11 (1st)

Everton not having to pay a transfer fee was also an important factor, with sources telling 90min the Toffees face the prospect of having to sell either Richarlison or Dominic Calvert-Lewin this summer to ease their Financial Fair Play worries.