Demarai Gray has made a statement following his move to Al-Ettifaq.
The winger took to his Instagram to thank Everton fans and also explain why he decided to leave Goodison Park this summer.
Gray joined the Toffees from Bayer Leverkusen for only £1.7 million two years ago and has since been one of their better players during a difficult period, netting 12 goals and providing six assists in all competitions.
While the forward was initially expected to head into pre-season with Everton as normal, it was soon made clear that he was pushing for a move away from the club.
Gray hadn’t featured for the Toffees since the final day of the 2022/23 season and had been linked with both Crystal Palace and Fulham, however a move to Saudi Arabia looked the most likely in the final weeks of the window.
Gray almost looked like he was going to stay at Everton after the club blocked his transfer on deadline day, but after he shared his frustration on Instagram, he eventually got his way and the Merseyside outfit confirmed his departure this morning.
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While most fans think Gray has moved to the Middle East for the hefty pay cheque he will be earning, the 27-year-old has tried to assure them it was down to regular game time.
Writing on his Instagram, Gray said: “After two years with Everton, it’s time to say goodbye.
“I wish everyone at the club the very best and will be forever proud to have played for this great team. To the fans, you were always incredible – thank you for your support. You made it a privilege to wear the shirt.
“There has been a lot of speculation about my situation all summer. The truth is, I gave my all to this club on and off the pitch through good and bad. I was relaly to play as much as football as possible this season but it felt like this was not going to happen.
“It’s time for my next chapter. I am match fit and excited to get playing.”
Demarai Gray decided to join Al-Ettifaq for footballing reasons
Demarai Gray has tried to claim that he has joined Al-Ettifaq as he wasn’t going to get regular football at Goodison Park.
While the arrivals of Jack Harrison and Arnaut Danjuma may have meant Gray would have had stiffer competition, the Jamaica international certainly would have been given plenty of chances after being one of their biggest attacking threats over the past two years.
The forward definitely will have had options elsewhere, so to suggest he hasn’t moved to Saudi Arabia for the money is laughable.