It could be the end of an era at Everton. Club captain Phil Jagielka is being linked with a move away from Goodison Park, and will discuss his future with manager Ronald Koeman this week, according to the Daily Mail.
Jagielka has had a torrid season so far, and has often been dropped in favor of Ramiro Funes Mori. The 34-year-old has been responsible for multiple mistakes in the backline, leading to penalties and goals conceded, included two spot-kicks given away against today’s opponents Manchester City in the reverse fixture.
Premier League clubs Sunderland and West Ham United have been linked with a move for the player. The Black Cats, managed by former Toffees boss David Moyes, were mentioned in a swap deal at the beginning of the season for Lamine Kone and Jagielka, but nothing came of it at the time. The Hammers meanwhile are desperately searching for defensive reinforcements after an underwhelming first half of the season.
Ronald Koeman has gone on record to say that he is looking to reduce the average age of the squad, and especially at the centerback pairing where Jagielka is 34 and summer addition Ashley Williams is 32. Funes Mori has been inconsistent as well while youngster Mason Holgate has looked composed, but has only been used as a third centerback when the formation has called for it.
Everton have been loosely linked with Koeman’s former defender at Southampton Virgil van Dijk, but the Dutch international is a hot commodity now in a League where there suddenly appears to be a dearth of strong centre backs. Terrence Kongolo at Feyenoord is another name that has been mentioned in the search.
The Blues were rumoured to have made Roma an offer for Kostas Manolas, but nothing much came out of that chatter either. Another Saints player Jose Fonte has put in for a transfer request, but at 33 doesn’t necessarily solve Koeman’s main issue of making the side younger.