Ex-Premier League attacker hails incredible Rafa Benitez transfer decision

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Following his transfer, earlier this summer, from German side Bayer Leverkusen, Demarai Gray, who cost Everton just £1.8m, is already being tipped as the best signing of the season.

That is the view of former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan, who while speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted manager Rafa Benitez deserves all the credit in the world following his shrewd summer business.

Gray, 25, hasn’t been the only successful signing the Toffees made this summer though.

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A free transfer for ex-Crystal Palace attacker Andros Townsend, 30, has seen the Merseyside club reinforce both of their flanks while spending less than £2m.

Gray (left) and Townsend (right) combined expertly for Everton’s equaliser against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.

Since their signings, both players have hit the ground running with the pair already racking up 12 direct goal contributions in just their first nine appearances, in all competitions.

Assessing what is turning out to be some remarkable summer business from the Toffees, Whelan said: “He [Benitez] deserves massive credit for getting the best out of them. Also for taking a chance on them.

“The man-management skills that Rafa has because of the respect for what he’s done in the game means Everton are enjoying their football right now.

“If you’d have asked me before the season about whether they would have succeeded – I’d have said no.

“Rafa has seen something in them and transformed their careers – they’re playing the best football of their lives.

“They are paying Benitez back ten-fold right now.

“Demarai Gray has to be the best transfer of the season for £1.7million – wow, that’s ridiculous!”

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