Rafa Benitez has admitted his recent conversation with Richarlison did not cover a potential new contract at Everton for the striker. Benitez revealed earlier on Friday that he had lunch with Richarlison and his representatives, but has now gone on to say that those discussions did not cover any potential new deal.
Rafa Benitez said “I said before I had lunch with him and his people, it was a nice conversation talking about his fitness, rehabilitation and the future. But we were not talking about anything else. I think he’s happy, he has a long-term contract. It’s just to be sure he’s coming back as soon as possible to continue scoring goals for us.”
The Brazil international is currently side-lined with a knee injury picked up against Burnley last month, but recently spoke candidly about his future. The 24-year-old made clear of his affinity for the Blues and the supporters at Goodison Park, but admitted that a transfer away could happen in the future if it was right for both himself and the club. Richarlison signed a new contract with Everton in 2019 which is set to keep him on Merseyside until 2024.
While Richarlison is still out through injury, Jordan Pickford returned from his own problem last week to keep a clean sheet against Norwich City. The 27-year-old has been selected for England duty over the course of the coming international break, with the Three Lions set to face Andorra and Hungary later this month. Benitez confirmed that Pickford is fit to link up with his national side, but hinted towards a desire for Gareth Southgate and his staff to give the goalkeeper a rest at some point.
Rafa Benitez said “He will be fit to play for us, if he’s fit to play for us he can play for England. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but some of the games, they are nothing games. I think this is easy to manage. You can manage, I will say you can manage that!”
Everton come up against Manchester United at Old Trafford this week and could face up against a player they were linked with in the closing stages of the summer transfer window. It was rumoured that the Blues were interested in a late swoop for Donny van de Beek, but the midfielder instead stayed with the Red Devils until at least January. The Blues boss, however, refused to be drawn over whether his side would be back in for the Dutch international this winter.
Rafa Benitez said “I think it’s too early to talk about players. We were linked with so many that we wouldn’t have space in the city for all of them! I think it’s important to concentrate on the game and we have plenty of time to talk about players. I’m sure you will ask me the question in one month’s time! You have to ask the question, but my answer has to be that.”
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