Everton’s Demarai Gray close to sealing a transfer to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq

Wantaway Everton forward Demarai Gray is close to sealing a move to Saudi Arabia Pro League side Al-Ettifaq.

The relationship between the 27-year-old and Sean Dyche has broken down after the manager was moved to publicly criticise the player via club media channels.

The winger said it was “difficult to play for someone who doesn’t show you respect as a person”.

Dyche responded by expressing his unhappiness at Gray, who has not played this season after being linked with Saudi Arabia as well as Fulham and other clubs, effectively going on strike after making clear he did not want to train as he believed he had secured a move away.

Nothing materialised on European deadline day but with the Saudi window open until Thursday, it is understood Everton have managed to finalise a deal with Al-Ettifaq.

The club, which has had to work under stringent financial restrictions in the transfer market, will make a profit on the deal having signed Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for just £1.7million in July 2021.

His departure at least gives Dyche, whose side have just one point from their first four matches, one less problem to deal with after criticising his attitude on Tuesday.

“Demarai made it clear that he felt he was getting a move (away from Everton) and he told us a move was done, which was interesting to hear from a player,” he said.

“We reminded him of the truth of the fact that no moves are done without this club’s say so.”