Everton have completed the signing of Burnley winger Dwight McNeil for an undisclosed fee.
The 22-year-old had his medical at Finch Farm on Thursday and the deal has now been finalised with McNeil becoming Everton’s third signing of the summer under Frank Lampard.
He has signed a five-year contract which runs until the end of June 2027, joining fellow new arrivals, former Burnley team-mate James Tarkowski and Sporting Lisbon loanee Ruben Vinagre.
The England U21 international has plenty of Premier League experience, having already made 134 top-flight appearances for Burnley. He has missed just two Premier League matches since December 2018 and ranked second for dribbles in the top flight last season.
“It is an amazing feeling to sign. When I heard about Everton’s interest I wanted to get it done straight away because of the club and how good the team is,” McNeil told evertontv.
“Speaking to the manager about what they want going forward, it really excited me and appealed to me. I wanted to be part of it. He knows me as a player, as does [Director of Football] Kevin Thelwell. I want to work hard and do well for the team and for the fans.
“I feel playing under a manager like Frank Lampard, he will help me to get my stats up – and that is what I want to do and improve my game.”
The attacking midfielder, who has seven goals and 17 assists in the Premier League to his name, had also been attracting interest from London sides West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Manager Lampard added: “I have been a big admirer of Dwight for some time. He has huge talent and is exactly the type of player we want to bring into the squad to help us improve.”
McNeil had two years remaining on his current Burnley contract, with the Clarets retaining the option to extend that contract by a further year.
‘Magnificent McNeil can go as far as he wants’
Michael Duff, former Burnley defender and coach, to Sky Sports:
“He’s magnificent. After I retired from playing, I took the U18s for a year when Dwight was a first-year scholar and you could see he had a little bit then.
“Then, after my first year I went up to the U23s and he played for me for a whole season as a second-year scholar there. Then the next season he kicked on.
“He has been brilliant and he also has learned the other side of the game, which a lot of young players need to do.
“He learned about shape, organisation and discipline, and that gives him the platform to go and express himself.
“He has got a wand of a left foot, he can bang it, he can put crosses into areas you don’t think he could put it in, and he can see a pass. He can go as far as he wants to.
“He’s kept his head and his focus, which can be difficult for a younger player, especially when you look around and see players on £80k-a-week at 20.
“You’ve just got to keep your counsel and look after yourself and it will all come to you.”
Analysis: McNeil offers solution to creative void
Sky Sports football journalist Ben Grounds:
“It is clear which department Everton have needed to address since the sale of Richarlison earlier this summer to Tottenham. It is not certain precisely how much of the £60m recouped for the Brazilian’s departure Lampard will be able to spend but in signing McNeil, he is finding a solution for the creativity deficit.
“In a struggling Burnley side, the former England U21 international failed to score in the Premier League last term while he only registered one assist. That only tells half the story, however.
“The 47 chances he created was more than any other Everton player. Indeed, he was among the top 25 most creative players in the Premier League last season, but only one of his chances was converted by Burnley’s wasteful forward line.
“McNeil also made 90 successful dribbles in the top flight last season with only Allan Saint-Maximin (150) making more.
“As a natural left-footer, he will provide the side with greater balance should Everton choose to line up in a 4-4-2 formation. In signing a five-year contract, it is clear that Lampard believes McNeil can form an integral part of the club’s present and future.
“An area which Everton performed strongly in two seasons ago was at set-pieces, from which they scored 10 goals with the likes of Lucas Digne, James Rodriguez and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the side.
“This number dropped to half last term, with the five goals coming despite a clear issue at identifying a corner-kick taker of quality. This is one of McNeil’s many strengths, and with James Tarkowski making the same switch from Burnley, it is a route to goal that could prove fruitful again.”
On Wednesday, the Toffees signed Sporting Lisbon defender Ruben Vinagre on a season-long loan deal, making him their second summer signing under Lampard.
The versatile Portugal U21 international, who can play as either a left-back or a left-sided wing-back, spent five years at Wolves between 2017 and 2022, the first of which was on loan from Monaco. The Portuguese club then turned the 23-year-old’s loan into a permanent move this summer before selling him back to England.
Everton also have the option to purchase the player for a fee in the region of £18m at the end of next season.
“It’s a dream come true to join a big club like Everton,” Vinagre told evertontv. “The opportunity to work with very good players and a very good coach in Frank Lampard made me excited to sign.
“The manager is a football legend. Everybody knows him and the opportunity to work with and learn from him and someone like Ashley Cole – one of football’s best left-backs – is very big for me.”
Everton will begin their 2022/23 Premier League campaign with the visit of Chelsea to Goodison Park – live on Sky Sports – as Frank Lampard faces his former club seeking a winning start to the new season.
Richarlison scored the only goal of the game when the two sides last met in April to spark a run of 10 points from five games which preserved Everton’s top-flight status for a 69th successive season. The game is live on Sky Sports at 5.30pm on August 6.
The Toffees will hope to avoid any such relegation fears this time around, and will face trips to Aston Villa (August 13), Brentford (August 27) and Leeds (August 30) after the season’s curtain-raiser – with a home game against Nottingham Forest (August 20) sandwiched in between a hectic opening month.
The first Merseyside derby of the season comes next on September 3 at Goodison with the reverse fixture at Anfield falling on February 11. Everton’s final fixture before the pause for the World Cup is away to Bournemouth on November 12.
The Premier League season resumes on Boxing Day with Everton hosting Wolves, while their campaign ends on May 28 with Bournemouth coming to Merseyside.