Take yourself back to 4th October 2020, Everton are top of the Premier League and all three major summer signings look like world beaters.
Four wins from the opening four matches suggested The Toffees had left behind their annual poor performances early in the season, but it was not to last. Despite the early peak from James Rodriguez and company, at the start of December Everton find themselves eighth in the table with only one win in their last seven fixtures. With games so difficult to predict this season, it’s always best to check what the professionals think before assuming the mighty Blues will succeed.
It’s been a difficult 25 years for Everton fans since the last time they saw their club lift a trophy, but now they’re in their best shape since then to challenge for honours. In recent years the club has been through significant change; under new management with owner Fahad Moshiri and with a host of new managers and players. The Blues managed to secure the most high profile manager in their history last season when landing Carlo Ancelotti, and under the tutelage of the three-time Champions League winner, they hope to secure European football.
His early transfer dealings have made an immediate impression on the team, and with a few more quality additions, it could push Everton into contention for major trophies and European competition. In this article, I’ll pick out five potential transfers which could lift the team from outsiders to contenders.
It looks like Umtiti’s time at Barcelona is coming to an end. After a variety of injury issues in recent years, the French defender is yet to play a single minute for Blaugrana this campaign under the management of former Blues boss Ronald Koeman. Now approaching full fitness, it’d be the ideal time for a club to take on the 27-year-old who has won trophies in France, Spain and internationally.
It’s rumoured that Barcelona are willing to accept a cut price deal to get the player off their wage bill, and his reported £75k per week wouldn’t be insurmountable for Everton. Umtiti is clearly a talented centre back and the 2018 World Cup winner would offer a pace and composure to a defence lacking in both.
Barely two years ago Yerry Mina made the same move from Catalunya to Liverpool and it’s reasonable to think Umtiti may follow suit as the Colombian’s replacement. Mina has struggled at times and Ancelotti will be keen to find a more consistent partner for Michael Keane and the promising Mason Holgate.
When James Rodriguez swapped the Madrid for Merseyside, many couldn’t believe what a coup it was for the club. Only a few months later and it looks like his former teammate Isco could be following the exact same route.
Real Madrid dynamo Isco has seen the positive impact the move has had on Rodriguez and he has previously enjoyed success under Ancelotti, too. Keen to find his form again after a few seasons of reduced playing time, Isco could become a leading light in the league with his elite footwork and creativity.
Just a year ago, the prospect of Everton landing Isco would have been laughable, but he is likely to move in the next transfer window and The Toffees are the current 3/1 favourites to acquire his talents. The appeal of joining Ancelotti and Everton is clearly a factor for Isco, who reportedly rejected a move to Italian giants Juventus in favour of a move to the Premier League.
Isco’s attacking prowess would be a welcome upgrade to Gylfi Sigurdsson and at 28, Everton could be poised to take advantage of the Spaniard’s prime years.
Everton are struggling with width this season, with Richarlison playing centrally and Rodriguez drifting inside to create opportunities, there is little offered in terms of pure wing play. Hirving Lozano is the perfect solution for this problem.
The 25-year-old Mexican already has multiple ties to Everton which would no doubt enhance the lure of a move to Merseyside. It was Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands who brought Lozano to Europe when he signed the winger for PSV. After an impressive couple of seasons in the Netherlands, it was EFC boss Ancelotti who signed him for Napoli.
In the 2018-19 season, he netted 21 goals and added 12 assists for PSV, but struggled in his first season in Serie A. Although he’s started this campaign well, we know that Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso isn’t completely satisfied with the attacker, asking him to work more defensively and be physically stronger.
Lozano would be an ideal replacement for the underwhelming Alex Iwobi, and even offer a pacey alternative in attack to the powerful Dom Calvert-Lewin. The Mexican international gained the unusual nickname Chucky in his youth career due to his frightening antics off the field, just like the possessed doll from the Child’s Play horror film. Everton will be hoping they can bolster their roster with the player and he will be just as scary to opposition defences.
The transfer from Portugal to the North West has been fruitful with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes excelling, and the potential is there for Grimaldo to follow.
In the modern game, athletic and attacking full backs are imperative and this year it’s been the most coveted position in the Premier League with 25 full backs being signed by clubs in the English top flight in 2020-21.
Everton have been reliant on their full backs for the best part of a decade, with Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman operating effectively on either flank. With the surprise retirement of Baines and Coleman struggling to replicate his form from before his double leg break, Everton have been found out on occasion already this season. Lucas Digne is an excellent replacement for Baines, but there is no strength in depth in either full back position and Grimaldo meets the criteria to suit Everton’s style.
The 25-year-old has been a significant threat for Benfica over the past few seasons and the diminutive Spaniard has already contributed four assists from his opening six appearances this campaign. Grimaldo would offer another attacking option for the Blues and no doubt push the Toffees closer to their ambition.
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