James Tarkowski has completed a move to Everton on a free transfer, signing a four-year contract with the Club until the end of June 2026.
The 29-year-old central defender joins the Blues after his contract expired at Burnley at the end of last month, having spent more than six personally outstanding years with the Turf Moor club.
Tarkowski, who has two England caps following a debut against Italy in March 2018, played 194 Premier League games for Burnley and started more than 30 top-flight matches in each of the five seasons prior to his switch to Merseyside.
A rock-solid defender with an excellent, progressive passing range, Tarkowski ranked first in the Premier League for both clearances and shots blocked in 2021/22, was second for aerial duels won, and was ranked in the top three per cent of centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues in those three categories and touches in the opposition box.
After becoming Everton’s first signing of the summer, Tarkowski revealed the role of manager Frank Lampard and the Club’s passionate fans in confirming Goodison Park was the right move for him.
“I’m excited to have joined Everton. It’s a massive club. I’m really looking forward to the years ahead and I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve been given,” Tarkowski told evertonfc.com.
“Speaking to the manager, it was very important to see what he wants from his players and his team, what he saw in me and why he wanted to sign me. Speaking to [Director of Football] Kevin Thelwell was also a factor. They both spoke about the ambition here which was really important for me.
First signing of the summer: ✅ pic.twitter.com/Zy3Jg2jGq2— Everton (@Everton) July 2, 2022
“I’m an ambitious person, I want to achieve, I want to win things and I’ve come here to be successful.
“And then there are the Everton fans. The support they gave the team last season was incredible. You saw just how big the fanbase is. Despite a difficult season, Everton fans got behind their team more than ever.
“I think they are a massive factor about this club. Hopefully successful times are ahead and, with the talent we have in the squad, we can give the fans something they really enjoy.”
Tarkowski began his professional career with Oldham Athletic, spending three years with the Latics before moving to Brentford in 2014.
The right-footed defender secured promotion to the Championship in his first season in West London ahead of his switch to Burnley in 2016, helping the Clarets win the second-tier title in his maiden campaign en route to the Premier League.
“I think the manager [Lampard] recognised my strengths, saw how I could fit into his system and hopefully improve the team,” said Tarkowski. “He also saw my character and leadership skills - that what I can bring to a group will be good and positive.
“First and foremost, I’m a defender. That part of my game is something I’ve really worked on the past few years to become the best defender possible.
“I want to bring that to the team, but I also feel like I’m a good football player. I can move the ball well, I can pass, I can attack the ball in the other box, so I feel like I’ve got myself in a good place to be successful at a club like Everton.”
Director of Football Thelwell said: “We are delighted to welcome a player of James’ quality to Everton and believe he will be an excellent addition to our squad.
“The statistics show that James has consistently been one of the Premier League’s most reliable defenders in recent years. Added to his playing attributes, his excellent leadership skills and experience will be a huge benefit, too.
“James is a player I’ve admired for many years and Frank was very keen to bring him to the Club. We look forward to him being a highly-valued member of our squad next season and in the years to come.”