Rafa Benitez won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005
Rafa Benitez has made Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic his first two signings at Everton

Everton: Rafa Benitez makes Andros Townsend & Asmir Begovic first signings as Toffees boss


Everton have signed former England winger Andros Townsend and Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Townsend, 30, was available on a free transfer after his deal at Crystal Palace expired at the end of last season, and has signed a two-year contract.

The Toffees then brought in experienced goalkeeper Begovic to provide extra competition for first choice Jordan Pickford. The 34-year-old has signed a 12-month deal with the option of a further year.

The two signings are Everton’s first since the appointment of Rafael Benitez as manager.

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Townsend, who previously played under Benitez during a brief spell at Newcastle five years ago, told Everton TV: “I think everyone knows what Everton is. It’s a massive football club, it’s very ambitious, a club which has been trying to get back to where it belongs into Europe and beyond.

“I’ll be doing all I can to help the club do that. As the old cliche goes, it was a no-brainer.”

Townsend, who has 13 England caps, made his name at Tottenham, where he came through the youth ranks.

He moved to Newcastle in 2016 but left for Palace after the Magpies' relegation from the Premier League later that year and spent five seasons at Selhurst Park.

Townsend tweeted: “After 5 amazing years and countless memories, it’s time to say my goodbyes to everyone at Crystal Palace.

“I’d like to say particular thank yous to the chairman for bringing me to Selhurst and giving me the opportunity to wear the red and blue, to Sam (Allardyce) and Roy (Hodgson) for their belief in me, and to my team-mates for the special moments we enjoyed together on the pitch.

Premier League done deals
Premier League done deals

“To the Palace fans. The beating heart of the club. To each and every one of you… Thank you. Thank you for all of your support, it’s that support which makes the club and Selhurst Park so special.

“It’s a shame we didn’t get to say goodbye properly, but we’ll be seeing each other soon enough and I’m already looking forward to returning to Selhurst when we meet again. Until next time, there’s a star-man playing on the right.”

Former Stoke and Chelsea keeper Begovic has made 252 Premier League appearances in his career. He joined Bournemouth for £10m in 2017 and, although his spell on the south coast was punctuated by loan spells at FK Qarabag and AC Milan, he was restored as first choice in the Championship last season.

The Bosnian, who has 63 international caps, intends to push Pickford for a place.

He said: “I think the goalkeeping group here is fantastic. We’re going to push each other every single day and set those standards in training. I’m definitely here to compete and to try to help this team in any way I can.”

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