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Room for improvement…

Welcome to the January transfer window! With the prospect of yet another season of mediocrity looming, a new manager and potential new additions could still lift the clouds above Goodison and push Everton towards the European places.

Upon reviewing the current Everton squad, there are three clear ares of need that Brands and Ancelotti can look to improve upon through the January transfer window.

There is also the prospect of important players returning from long term injuries. If the Toffee’s can fill these glaring needs, they could potentially push on to challenging for a fabled top six place as early as this season and would ensure a dramatic improvement to Everton’s otherwise poor season.

Despite reports of concern over Jordan Pickford and his undersized arms, Carlo Ancelotti has stated he is happy with his goalkeeping options and it will not be featured on this list.

Defence

Centre Back is the first area of need due to a number of reasons. Ever since Everton learned Kurt Zouma would not be returning after his magnificent loan spell, a clear hole at centre back has been left. Whilst Mason Holgate has been one of better performers this campaign and Yerry Mina has managed to stay fit for the majority of the season, Everton ares still left with a severe lack of depth at the position.

Michael Keane has regressed and is devoid of confidence and a fourth option is needed. Whilst U23 players such as Lewis Gibson and Morgan Feeney have been touted for a call up, they are young and inexperienced. Indeed as I am writing this, confirmation of the signing of 17 year-old Jarrad Branthwaite from Carlisle United has been reported – like Feeney and Gibson it is yet to be seen whether he is ready to cut his teeth in Europe’s top league. Therefore, Everton should look towards the January transfer window as a potential opportunity to fill this need. Nathan Ake has been mentioned and whilst he perfectly fits the bill of what is needed, he is likely to be out of Everton’s price range. A similar player that Everton should look to target is Benfica and Portugal centre back, Ruben Dias.

The 22 year old played 55 games for Benfica last season and is a regular in the Portuguese National Team. He brings pace, leadership and would be an incredibly exciting acquisition. 

A cheaper option could be Sheffield United centre back, John Egan. Egan has played a crucial role in Sheffield United’s astounding return to the Premier League and would provide a reliable option at centre back, although Sheffield United are unlikely to sell at this stage.

Midfield

Central Midfield is the next area of concern for Everton. This is largely due to the crushing injuries suffered by Jean Phillipe Gbamin and Andre Gomes. Gbamin was signed from Mainz in the summer and was brought in to fill the gaping hole left by Idrissa Gana Gueye’s departure to PSG.

However, after just two appearances, Gbamin was ruled out for three months with a thigh injury, a period of time that was extended by a further three months after surgery was required. This has left Everton lacking a reliable defensive midfielder, with Morgan Schneiderlin’s early Everton form a distant memory and Fabian Delph spending more time on the physio table than on the pitch.

However, with Gbamin expected back at the end of January, Everton should not look to find a replacement in the transfer window. Gbamin brings pace, power and extreme physicality, three things Everton desperately lack. Everton also lack creativity in the midfield, something that was lost when Andre Gomes suffered an horrific ankle injury in November.

Given Gylfi Sigurdsson’s disappearing act and Tom Davies’ inconsistency, loan options could be the best way to replace Gomes, with James Rodriguez standing out as a potentially blockbuster signing for the Blues. James would bring the much needed quality and creativity that Everton have lacked since Gomes’ injury.

Forwards

With DCL and Richarlison forming a formidable striking partnership, it appears as though the Blues have finally found a replacement for Romelu Lukaku’s goals. The wing is the final area of need that Everton should look to fill in the transfer window. Due to Ancelotti firmly believing Richarlison is best suited to playing striker,

Everton have been left with just Walcott, Bernard, Iwobi and Gordon as options on the wing. Despite Gordon’s impressive displays for the U23’s, it would be harsh to expect him to be able to produce immediately in the Premier League. Whilst Bernard, Iwobi and Walcott all have undeniable quality, all three men lack one clear thing – goals. The three have combined for just 5 goals this season.

The squad is in desperate need of a prolific winger to carry the load. The appropriately named Everton Soares represents the perfect player for the Toffees to target. With 38 goals in his past two season, Soares brings a much needed goal threat to the Everton strike force. A fee in the region of 25 million pounds has been suggested and this would prove a bargain price in today’s market for a player with all the pace and trickery of Bernard, but with a significantly increased scoring output.

Soares is also just 23 years old and would represent an investment that could bring goals for the Blues for many years to come. His performances in the Copa America have helped to quell worries that Soares could not perform at a high level of competition, as he scored in Brazil’s 3-1 final victory over Peru.

Ruben Dias, James Rodríguez and Everton Soares – or players of a similar profile – would be three high-caliber signings that, alongside the return of long term absentees, could help propel Everton towards a top six position this season.

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I have been a blue since the age of 5 and live and breathe Everton. I hope you enjoy my work and we all enjoy some Everton success. COYB!

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