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Everton survived relegation from the Premier League during the final week of last season with Burnley the team to join Watford and Norwich City in dropping to the Championship.

Now, Everton are taking our players. Even had we stayed up, James Tarkowski, who signed for Everton recently, would have left but now the Toffees have taken advantage of our relegation and signed Dwight McNeil.

Dwight, now aged 22, made his first team debut over four years ago, coming on as a substitute for for Aaron Lennon late in the final game of the 2017/18 season against Bournemouth. He had a couple of starts early in the next season, at home against Olympiacos and Manchester United, but after the Boxing Day disaster against Everton, he came into the side and has hardly been missing since.

He’s made 134 league appearances for us to add to twelve more in cup competitions and he’s scored seven goals, the last of them coming at Goodison Park in a 2-1 win in March 2021. Only Paul Weller, Chris McCann and Jay Rodriguez have made more league appearances for Burnley, having come through the youth team, since the likes of Vince Overson and Micky Phelan in the early 1980s.

Last season wasn’t his best. Much has been said about the lack of goals and assists, he didn’t score and had just one assist, but there was a real belief that he could recapture his form for us this season. Although there have been mentions of interest from clubs, mainly Crystal Palace and West Ham, it did look as though we might be able to keep him.

Then came the news of Everton and it all moved very quickly. He re-joins former team mate Tarkowski having signed a five-year deal with Everton and becomes the thirteenth player to leave us since the end of last season who has played Premier League football for us. The fee is undisclosed but is believed to be close to £20 million.

I think Dwight is going to be a big miss but I’m sure we all wish him well at Everton.

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