Following the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, there has been an upturn in results for Everton. Despite this, however, performances have often been lacking in verve and invention with lacklustre defeats and bore draws still prevalent.
Many fans feel that several summer signings are needed if the club is to mount a serious challenge for European football or simply to produce a more attractive brand of football. The director of football at Everton, Marcel Brands, however, has suggested there will be a limited number of signings, and whilst this may concern some fans, it is hopefully a sign of an emphasis on quality over quantity. Which positions are the most pressing and who best to fill them?
The 22-year-old centre-back currently plies his trade at Lille and his highly sought-after with links to Spurs, Chelsea and Napoli. There have been suggestions that a fee has already been agreed at around the £30 million mark, but there is no guarantee the Brazilian will agree to terms with the club given the demand he is in. Everton are right to be ambitious as he is exactly the kind of youthful quality that needs to be secured for the club to move forward.
The club are certainly in need of defensive reinforcements having conceded 48 goals in 33 games this season. Question marks remain over Michael Keane and Yerry Mina, and whilst Mason Holgate has turned in impressive performances, he has perhaps not convinced fans he is the long-term leader of the backline. Magalhaes has the potential to transform the Everton defence and would represent a statement of ambition.
Another player with plenty of room for growth, Koopmeiners is also just 22-years-old and yet captains his club AZ Alkmaar. Everton fans may be understandably reluctant to sign a midfielder from the Dutch league after the Davy Klaasen debacle, but the risk would be more palatable if he is available at a relatively meagre £12 million as reported.
Koopmeiners has a combination of tenacity and technical quality which could help bring some much-needed dynamism into a static, one-paced midfield. Everton have also struggled with goals this season, leaving them at 11/4 in the football betting and football odds to finish in the top ten, and may hope that Koopmeiners can help to remedy this issue having contributed 16 goals this season. There is certainly an element of risk with this signing but, especially at a low price tag, the club would be best served aiming for potential stars over tried-and-tested has-beens.
The Turkish right-winger has struggled with injury and form with Roma this season, scoring three goals in twenty-two appearances. At 22, however, his potential is undoubted after scoring three goals in the group stages of last year’s Champions League and providing seven assists in Serie A. Theo Walcott still divides opinion and is on the wrong side of 30, whilst Iwobi has yet to convince fans or management he can be a long-term solution. With this in mind, Under’s injury problems may be the only question mark over the wisdom of his potential signing. An injection of pace and trickery could be the ideal solution for the side’s lack of genuine creativity.
It is heartening to see Everton linked with several young players with real potential and hopefully indicates a commitment to focusing on specific talents. Some fans may feel disappointed with suggestions that only a few signings will be made this summer, but it could underline a growing maturity in the transfer market compared to the scattergun approach to transfer dealings which defined Ronald Koeman’s first window. Whether any of these signings are secured is another matter, but hope springs eternal.
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