Everton winger Andros Townsend has admitted he is “fortunate” to have secured a transfer to Goodison Park.
The 30-year-old had previously worked with Toffees boss Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, and their relationship helped secure his move to Merseyside.
He was out of contract at Crystal Palace and was available on a free transfer, with Everton happy to snap him up in what was a shrewd transfer window for them.
Townsend is eager to battle in the top half of the Premier League and push for European football after underwhelming spells with Palace and the Magpies.
“I just want to keep working hard and impressing,” he told Everton’s official matchday programme.
“I have been battling at the wrong end of the table for six years.
“I was very fortunate the stars aligned.
“I was out of contract, free transfers were more attractive following COVID and Rafa was appointed to the Everton job.
“I have the opportunity to fight at the right end of the table with a big and very ambitious club.”
Elsewhere, former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor has claimed that Benitez only joined Everton because it was “local”.
The Spaniard spent six years at Liverpool, winning the Champions League and FA Cup during his time at Anfield.
Fans of the blue side of Merseyside were pessimistic to say the least when it was confirmed the 61-year-old would take over, but the Toffees started the season well.
They won four of their first five competitive matches under Benitez but a 3-0 loss to Villa on Saturday before being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by QPR on Tuesday has put him under some pressure.
“I can’t have Benitez, honestly, I was based on loyalty with Aston Villa,” Agbonlahor said.
“But you look at Benitez, his family, he lives in the area, he’s just chosen to go to Everton because it’s local.
“That’s like me finishing my career and saying, ‘alright Birmingham City, you know what, can you give me £5-10,000 a week and I’ll sign for you because it’s an extra payday because you’re local’ [there’s] something about Benitez I can’t have.”