There is no doubting that Seamus Coleman has been a key figure for Everton over the last decade, but the Irishman’s recent hamstring injury has left the Toffees vulnerable on the right side of the defence.
Since his breakthrough into the first team in 2010, Coleman has been a model of consistency and one of the most dependable defenders in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old’s leadership skill has flourished in recent times, assuming the captaincy from Phil Jagielka last season. With Coleman in the line-up, Carlo Ancelotti has a stout defender and a quality creative option down the right. It has been noticeable in his absence that the Toffees have lacked a threat down the right flank.
Everton turned to the Championship and Norwich City for one answer to a defensive crisis, signing Ben Godfrey from the Canaries. Max Aarons attracted interest from Barcelona during the summer and provides the same solution as Godfrey at the back. It could depend on whether Norwich is in a selling mood. Given that they are in contention for a return to the Premier League, being backed in the English Championship odds at 5/6 to win promotion to the topflight, selling looks unlikely. Aarons does have the quality in the final third, although his defensive skills need refining. However, Ancelotti does have a pressing demand given his options in the squad.
Alex Iwobi was pressed into action at wing-back, while Tom Davies has also served in the role. Lucas Digne’s injury has stressed the position to breaking point, highlighting the need for reinforcements. Coleman will slot back into the team when he recovers from his hamstring ailment, although at the age of 32, Everton need to be considering his long-term replacement. They have enjoyed a seamless transition from Leighton Baines to Digne on the left flank. The Toffees believed at one point that Jonjoe Kenny could provide the answer to a successor to Coleman, although Ancelotti does not seem to trust the former England Under-21 international.
Kenny has proven his talent at a decent level, following a solid loan spell at Schalke last term in the Bundesliga. The 23-year-old could even be used as a makeweight in a deal to bring Aarons to Goodison Park, suiting the needs of both teams. Farke and the Canaries have cultivated a young team that was naïve in their Premier League outing last term. Kenny would seemingly fit that mould that they desire and a move could be possible in January.
Everton needs to resolve their issues at the back without losing their potency pushing forward. Aarons would provide pace and skill at sending crosses into the box for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. At the other end of the pitch, his relationship with Godfrey would be vital as their familiarity should allow the 20-year-old to bed into the system. The Toffees will no doubt face competition for Aarons’ signature, but again the presence of Godfrey will be a luring factor – not only seeing a familiar face, but also one that is playing regularly in the first team.
Ancelotti has been ready to give young players their opportunities if they are ready. Aarons fits the same mould and would arrive into a situation where he could grow and develop without having the pressure to become a superstar overnight.
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