Transfer Prospects - Centre-Back

by   |   22/09/2020  20 Comments  [Jump to last]

As a long-term fan and an avid transfer gossip enthusiast, I think this summer's transfer window has been the most productive in recent memory. The acquisitions of Rodriquez, Allan and Doucouré were swift and seemed to hit the mark in exactly what we are lacking, and are hopefully our new Brand of transfer (see what I did there).

The same action is now needed at centre-back almost immediately. With Holgate’s toe injury and Branthwaite out for extended periods, and only two fit recognised centre-backs in the senior squad.

Yerry Mina's back-peddling and hesitation for West Brom's first goal was not a good sign though the former Barcelona man did improve as the match went on. I don’t think he is a long-term option but, if he or Keane were to go down…

I'll take a look at and summarise the transfer gossip to save you the scrolling, but first:

Matthew Pennington seems to have vanished! He has a year left on his contract and is back from his loan to Hull City last season, yet he has not been mentioned in the Senior or U23s squad lists or the part of the known injuries. Anyone got the gossip?

Jean-Clair Todibo

It just may be Barcelona we call in order to solve our centre-back troubles once again. Jean-Clair Todibo, the French national, has just returned from loan at Schalke but has again found first-team action hard to come by and is seeking an out, temporarily or permanent. Various sites say he is available for loan or for up to €25M.

He could make for a solid transfer, with 8 appearances in the Bundesliga last season alongside none other than our very own Jonjoe Kenny. A temporary fix that could very well work out long-term; however, with 4 other centre-backs in the team, a loan deal would be preferred.

Antonio Rudiger

The German nation has slipped down the pecking order in the Chelsea 5-man centre-back race to be part of Frank Lampard's ever-changing line-up; with formerly loan linked Fikayo Tomori preferred. He came off the bench to have a solid performance in their 2-0 loss to Liverpool on the weekend.

It is reported that Antonio is now keen to leave in order to secure his long-term future for the German national team (despite him recommending Chelsea to German teammate Werner).

A loan deal would make sense for us and Chelsea – they love a loan; however, would 27-year-old Rudiger be happy plugging holes for part of a season? Have we recovered from the Zouma loan where he was ripped away just as he began to flourish?

Why didn’t Ancelotti use his Italian swagger to reel in the big fish, Thiago Silva? – if you haven’t heard the song of the same name it is also a banger:

Is there anyone else you'd like to see come in? … apparently David Alaba wants out of Bayern Munich!

For me, centre-back would be our last target without clearing out some of the dea wood in other positions. A winger or striker would be ideal but our back catalogue carries too many on big wages. For me, one of Walcott or Iwobi need to go, Delph, Tosun, Bolasie, Besic and Ramirez are surplus with most carrying heavy wages.

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Tony Everan
1 Posted 22/09/2020 at 10:12:42
I think Chelsea are stringing Tomori along until the window shuts, they want him as fourth choice back up. Possibly they have a raised eyebrow now at our start to the season and our top quality signings, is it wise for them to make us stronger?

I would be surprised now if they sold/loaned us Tomori and stunned if we got Rudiger, who I think is one of the best centre-backs in the league.

We have four good centre-backs for this season in Holgate Keane Mina and Branthwaite, all good enough to start or fill in, Holgate and Branthwaite will be back in October or November. Any new centre-back signing has to take this into account. Mina is most likely to miss games, so possibly they will be looking for someone similar to take over.

Someone like Adarabioyo may fit the bill as he is young, affordable, tall and mobile. He has some good and relevant experience in the tough Championship and would certainly get his opportunity at Everton when Mina needs a break or gets injured.

If it doesn't work out there is not too much downside and if it does work out we have a bargain.

Alternatively we go down the 1- or 2-year mature professional centre-back route, there are a few scattered round Europe who could do a short-term job and give us the back up we need, there's probably half a dozen our ToffeeWeb scouts could name.

Steve Ferns
2 Posted 22/09/2020 at 10:25:32
I'm changing my mind as Michael Keane has done so well and made my scathing criticism look very misplaced. He's performing well in a mid-block and maybe that can continue. I rate Yerry Mina and think he just needs a run of games and a bit of luck. I think Holgate is our best defender. That then means we need a fourth-choice centre-back. Why not let Branthwaite be just that, presuming Gibson goes on loan to Reading.

Next season, we can keep the trio and evaluate Gibson. If he's pushed on, as I expect, then why not let him fight for a first-team spot and this time loan out Branthwaite with a view to him doing the same in 2 years time at the age of 20, that providing he's not forced his way in this season with another mesmeric rise in ability.

With two talented young centre-backs, and Keane on a good run of form, do we really need another centre-back? Sure, if Brands considers Mina a flop and sells him, but I think he's more likely to stand by his man. Holgate ain't getting sold and Keane just signed a 5-year deal.

So, U-turn by me, but no need for a centre back right now.

John Keating
3 Posted 22/09/2020 at 12:27:32
Steve, I agree we don't need to spend money that we have in short supply on another centre-back. However, in the situation we find ourselves in at present I can't believe the Club would contemplate allowing Gibson to join Reading.

We have Fleetwood tomorrow and he should be playing alongside Kean. I would love Gibson to gain invaluable experience in the Championship; however, right now Everton must come first.

Steve Ferns
4 Posted 22/09/2020 at 12:29:24
Good points, John.
Tony Everan
5 Posted 22/09/2020 at 13:17:40
Mina and Keane being the only two senior centre-backs until December is too risky. An injury to either would be catastrophic with no back-up.

Worst case scenario is we could be two months or more without Mason Holgate. If Mina or Keane get injured we are exposed. Branthwaite is 4-6 weeks away but he may need time to get up to speed, and he is still very young 18? and inexperienced, we can't heap too much pressure onto him. A more planned development for him would be better.

I think Carlo will definitely get a centre-back in as insurance now Gibson is going to Reading. We have to remember that Carlo and Brands were pursuing Gabriel for months so it is pretty high up the agenda.

I just hope they have learned their lesson dealing with Man Utd and Chelsea last window. No direct Premier League competitor is going to help us out. They are more likely to stuff us up and leave us high and dry.

Brands needs to have good options elsewhere and be able to act on them in good time.

Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 22/09/2020 at 13:41:26
The club are working hard on getting more players in and they would be very foolish if a centre-back wasn't one of them. They are also trying harder to move some players out, one of them would be a big disappointment to me if it comes off.

I think he has a very good chance of doing well here, but the main one has to be covering the centre-back position, permanent or loan. It really would be a disaster if we don't get another one in.

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 22/09/2020 at 16:02:52
Good post, Steve #2. Glad you've changed your mind.
Jerome Shields
8 Posted 22/09/2020 at 16:29:26
I do think we need a centre-back. Mina is injury-prone, Holgate and Branthwaite are out injured. Gibson is not a proven replacement.
John Pierce
9 Posted 22/09/2020 at 16:49:45
Steve! What are you thinking! I can acknowledge when Keane plays well but the context is set against how poorly Mina played. Keane's body of work for Everton is riddled with mistakes and good performances only coming in a defensively tactical setup.

Even if Holgate were fit, only one of these guys would play each week. Mina and Keane are the same player. So we do need a centre-back to balance the team. Preferably a left-sided centre-back but someone quick is the answer.

Sure we could hobble along but we need to squeeze the play and Keane and Mina look like they are beyond evolving.

However, when all is said and done, the market is the problem. A lot of Premier League clubs need centre backs, so are unlikely to give us one unless we pay silly money from him. So abroad seems most likely and probably is where both Ancelloti and Brands have better contacts. Football has changed; defenders must do more than defend and be part of the attack, ball skills are a requirement and neither Keane or Mina have them.

It's going to be interesting to see what we do. But it feels with the market depressed and teams conceding goals left right and centre, if we can get someone in, we might be able steal a march on others. This season will be defined by stamina and depth. I think another bold gamble gives us a big shout. Can we find the money? I hope so!

Bill Gall
10 Posted 22/09/2020 at 17:24:26
Before Holgate's injury, this position did not seem to be that much of a problem. Now, we have both Mina or Keane, who both prefer the right side, having to cover the left side, and against West Brom.

It seemed Mina played on the right and Keane played on the left and that neither of the players or the defense seemed comfortable. If we are going to sign another centre-back, we have to sign a left-sided defender. This may cause problems when Holgate returns between Mina and Keane but this season with the amount of games the FA are trying to crowd in, both can be rotated as can Holgate and a new signing.

Branthwaite can continue with his development in the Under-23s or on loan. We need a left-sided centre-back. We will then have coverage for the goalkeeper, the right-back, the right-sided centre-back, the left-sided centre-back, and the left-back.

Mike Allison
11 Posted 22/09/2020 at 18:00:18
I think we need a centre-back because of the injury situation. We have five, two are injured and one is being loaned out. This means we need to do something.
Tony Everan
12 Posted 22/09/2020 at 18:08:46
John 9

The outgoing players may determine the incoming ones. If we can sell a couple and loan another two or three, our hand will be strengthened. It may not be the case of just finding the money, it maybe a case of staying onside with FFP. Whatever happens with injuries and Mina's record, we have got to get that left sided centre-back in.

100% agree that without the stamina and depth being available we will falter. The clubs around us will have it, we will need it. Back up where it matters will prove crucial. The centre-back and maybe a back-up striker in the mood of Llorente (who has been rumoured). Again this will probably only happen with wheeler dealering.

Then somehow get Gbamin fit as backup to Allan and Doucouré and we're sorted.

Steve Shave
13 Posted 22/09/2020 at 18:44:41
Steve Ferns, fair play to you for eating humble pie.
Jack Convery
14 Posted 23/09/2020 at 00:33:49
Ashley Williams is available on a free transfer – just sayin' like!!
Peter Warren
15 Posted 23/09/2020 at 22:14:50
Rudiger would be immense. Fantastic defender... surprised to hear he doesn't get in Chelsea's eleven.
Si Cooper
16 Posted 24/09/2020 at 23:23:59
Unfortunately, the latest postponement to the return of crowds to the games will have a knock-on impact to the club's income.

It's possible that plans to bring in another centre-back have changed again. What is the cheapest option we have (aside from not bringing anyone in)?

James Stewart
17 Posted 24/09/2020 at 23:48:25
Absolutely zero chance of getting Rudiger; PSG and Barca both in for him. Chelsea are mad to let him go.
Jay Harris
18 Posted 25/09/2020 at 00:23:18
I get the feeling he has fallen out with Lampard, James.

For me, he is by far the best cat Chelsea but he is just not getting a game.

I've been very impressed with Digne playing there but that could only be to cover Mina in the event of an injury because the likes of Benteke and Andy Carroll would just knock him over.

It is a difficult one because we need a good standard but then have Holgate and Branthwaite to come back and Gibson for next season.

It's a shame Mina is built of glass.

Ajay Gopal
19 Posted 25/09/2020 at 06:12:05
I think Keane is our long term future – he has speed issues, but is an old fashioned defender with good aerial ability (on both ends of the pitch) and is pretty decent on the ball.

But I have never been convinced or impressed with Mina. If he has a half-decent season, next summer he should be shipped out for a pacy left-sided centre-back. He will have to do this season.

All going well, Holgate should be back in December. Branthwaite should also be back around that time or slightly before.

So, yes, it would be nice to have a back-up centre-back as insurance – let us trust Brands and Carlo to come up with the goods.

David Ellis
20 Posted 27/09/2020 at 07:29:42
Chelsea's defence is by some margin worse than ours. Not sure I would be looking to their squad for reinforcements. I thought Mina and Keane played well today, and we may be fine with the 4/5 that we have. Another injury and we'll bring Gibson back from his loan, but Branthwaite should be fit in a couple of weeks anyway.

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