Rafa's freebies - Everton snap...


Rafa's freebies - Everton snap up free agents Townsend & Begovic

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Everton have snapped up free agents Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic. 

30-year old Townsend had seen his Crystal Palace contract expire after five years with the South London club. He's signed a two-year contract with the Toffees.

While 34-year old goalkeeper Begovic has signed a one-year deal at Goodison, with the option of a second. The Bosnian international will serve as Jordan Pickford's understudy.

The pair become Rafa Benitez's first signings as Everton manager.

Townsend previously worked under Benitez during their time together at Newcastle United, and the former England international wants to help Everton qualify for Europe this season.

"Everton is a massive football club," he said, "and has big ambitions next season.

"As the old cliché goes, it was a no-brainer.

“Rafa is very experienced. He does a lot of work on the tactical side on the training pitch, he leaves no stone unturned.

"But more importantly, he’s a great man, a great man-manager, and he’s always talking to you. I’m sure he will be very successful here.”

Townsend is well aware of his role at the club from this term, "They would admit I’m coming here to be a squad player.

“My job now is to prove I’m good enough to be an important part of this football club.

“Whenever I get the opportunity in pre-season, I will try to prove I’m good enough to be an important player here.

“That’s what drives me, it is what wakes me up in the morning and gets me out of bed.

“I worked with Rafa at Newcastle and had great success [personally] with him.

“We tried to link up on a few occasions after that but it wasn’t to be."

Begovic is also looking to push Pickford for a starting place between the posts.

"Jordan is a world-class goalkeeper," Begovic 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.

“We also have a great goalkeeping coach in Alan Kelly.

“I’m definitely here to compete [for a place] and to try to help this team in any way I can.”

Begovic's departure from Bournemouth leaves Republic of Ireland international Mark Travers as the most senior goalkeeper on the Cherries' books.

The twin arrivals of Townsend and Begovic bookend what's been an awkward day for Everton.

They confirmed the suspension of a first-team player on Tuesday morning pending a police investigation. Earlier, the Premier League said that an unnamed top flight footballer has been arrested on suspicion of child sex offences.

The 31-year-old man's been bailed while police continue to investigate. 

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Alan Kelly Andros Townsend Asmir Begovic Everton Mark Travers Rafa Benitez

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